Golf: LIV Golf players ineligible for PGA Tour membership renewal

Among the players who chose not to resign from the PGA Tour upon joining LIV Golf are (from left) Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Cameron Smith. PHOTOS: REUTERS, AFP

NEW YORK - The PGA Tour players who were suspended indefinitely by the US-based circuit for joining LIV Golf were informed this week that they are ineligible to renew their memberships for the 2022-23 season, Reuters confirmed on Friday.

As first reported by Sports Illustrated, a letter sent on Thursday to 22 players who had yet to resign from the PGA Tour said their LIV contracts prevent them from meeting membership requirements for the 2022-23 season that begins in two weeks.

Among the players who chose not to resign from the PGA Tour upon joining the controversial Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf series are six-time major winner Phil Mickelson, 2020 US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and world number two Cameron Smith.

Former Masters champions Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia are among the players who did resign their PGA Tour membership after making the move to LIV Golf, which has lured players with staggering sums of money.

Some of the players who were sent the letter were not planning to renew their membership or did not qualify for next season anyway.

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan recently unveiled a slew of changes in a bid to combat the threat posed by LIV Golf but was clear that those who joined the breakaway series should not seek a return even if the changes appealed to them.

"No. They've joined the LIV Golf Series and they've made that commitment. For most of them they've made multi-year commitments," said Monahan.

"As I have been clear throughout, every player has a choice, and I respect their choice, but they've made it. We've made ours. We're going to continue to focus on the things we can control and get stronger and stronger."

Critics say LIV Golf, which is bankrolled by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, amounts to "sportswashing" by a nation trying to improve its reputation in the face of criticism over its human rights record. REUTERS

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