Golfers taking part in controversial Saudi-backed LIV tournament suspended from PGA Tour | World News

Some of the the world’s top golfers, who teed off in this afternoon’s controversial Saudi-backed LIV series, have been suspended from the rival PGA Tour with immediate effect.

In a letter released to PGA Tour members, commissioner Jay Monahan said the players now suspended did not receive media releases – or did not apply for them at all – to participate in the LIV Golf Series, which is currently staging its opening event at Centurion Club in Hertfordshire.

Mr Monahan said the players in question had “decided to turn their backs on the PGA Tour by wilfully violating a regulation” and that “the same fate holds true for any other players who participate in future Saudi Golf League events in violation of our regulations”.

Those golfers are now prohibited from taking part in all tours sanctioned by the PGA Tour, including the Korn Ferry Tour, PGA Tour Champions, PGA Tour Canada and PGA Tour Latinoamérica.

“These players have made their choice for their own financial-based reasons. But they can’t demand the same PGA Tour membership benefits, considerations, opportunities and platform as you. That expectation disrespects you, our fans and our partners,” said Mohanan.

The breakaway series has been funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) – the owners of Newcastle United – and involves huge sums of money for the competitors.

Players have been criticised for taking part in the event in Hertfordshire due to Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.

However, a number of golfers have quit the PGA Tour in order to play in the breakaway circuit.

Former world number one Dustin Johnson and fellow American Kevin Na both resigned from the tour, but six-times major champion Phil Mickelson refused to leave.

Ryder Cup heroes Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter are also taking part, while Tiger Woods reportedly rejected a large offer to join the competition and Rory Mcllroy chose to defend his Canadian Open title instead.

LIV Golf has come under fire because it receives its funding from the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, which is headed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

He allegedly ordered the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

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