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Saudi Arabia-Supported LIV Golf League: Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood top list of golfers looking to play in London

Professional golf is at a crossroads and not everyone is aware of it. Rival golf leagues like McDonald’s are popping up on every corner, golfers are rumored to be taking their talents to greener pastures – money-wise – and it’s difficult for the casual golf fan to keep track of exactly what’s going on.

The PGA Tour and DP World Tour (formerly known as the European Tour) still have the services of the best players in the world – all independent contractors – but now those players have options in the form of LIV Golf and, technically, Premier Golf League.

Since the Genesis Invitational, when Phil Mickelson’s controversial comments about the Saudi Arabian regime funding the league were released, the bond surrounding LIV Golf has been uncovered. The six-time major champion has been in hot water for almost three months over his integral role in the Saudi-backed golf series. In late April, Steve Loy, Mickelson’s agent, confirmed Lefty’s registration for LIV Golf’s first event.

Slowly but surely, other players are following in Mickelson’s footsteps. There have been official announcements from Robert Garrigus, Lee Westwood, and Richard Bland, as well as unofficial claims from the likes of Sergio Garcia, Jason Kokrak, and Adam Scott. Kevin Na, Bubba Watson, Louis Oosthuizen, Ian Poulter and former world No. 1 Martin Kaymer have all been linked to LIV Golf through various reports.

On Tuesday said Greg Norman, CEO of LIV Golf Sky Sports that 19 of the world’s top 100 players, six of whom are in the top 50, have committed to play next month’s inaugural tournament in London. While the names have yet to officially emerge, LIV Golf plans to reveal them to the public during the PGA Championship next week.

Hours after Norman spoke to Sky Sports, it was reported that the PGA Tour had turned down all player requests for the inaugural LIV Golf event in London. It was thought the PGA Tour would grant those exemptions, but that won’t be the case as players who requested a release were notified of their refusal on Tuesday.

What is LIV Golf?

Currently directed by Norman, LIV Golf is putting together a series of eight tournaments starting this summer with some seriously outrageous prize money ($20 million in individual prizes plus a $5 million team payout). Those payouts are funded by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, which Norman said has just committed an additional $2 billion, and this eight-event series is seen as a precursor to a full-fledged year-long league. The goal is to expand to 10 tournaments in 2023 and 14 tournaments in the following two years. The whole thing is a bit chaotic, especially with Distribution not running smoothly and ticket prices absolutely skyrocket.

WHO could play and when?

A few names are mentioned above, but who else is eligible? Typically, the PGA Tour allows players up to three “releases” per season to play on different worldwide tours. The Saudi International in February is an example of an event that is given clearances as it was part of the Asia tour. Some sort of quid pro quo was arranged with the PGA Tour for those who chose to participate. Players who have decided to play had to agree to play in a future AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am on the PGA Tour since the event was taking place that same week.

As previously mentioned, the PGA Tour is taking a tough stance on this matter, choosing to treat the Saudi International as a one-off event rather than part of the standard release process. For this reason, it is safe to assume that no PGA Tour players will be eligible to play in the LIV Golf Series in the future unless they are willing to oppose the PGA Tour’s decision, which may very well be the case.

Additionally, Norman will be inviting several top amateurs to join the 48-player fields and reported that there were a total of 170 registrations for the London event.

There are eight LIV golf events in total in 2022, and while the PGA Tour is unlikely to grant clearances to any of them, the DP World Tour could take a different stance. This means that a battle between the leagues may not take place on the golf course, but rather in a courtroom.

LIV Golf participant list*

*unofficially

Events: 9th-11th June
Location: Centurion Club – London, England

Phil Mickelson

no

Lee Westwood

no

Martin Kaymer

no

Sergio Garcia

no

Robert Garrigus

no

Richard Bland

no

https://www.cbssports.com/golf/news/saudi-backed-liv-golf-league-phil-mickelson-lee-westwood-headline-list-of-golfers-wanting-to-play-in-london/ Saudi Arabia-Supported LIV Golf League: Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood top list of golfers looking to play in London

Justin Scacco

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