PGA Tour Suspends Players Who Joined Saudi-Backed LIV Golf Series

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Britain’s Ian Poulter insisted that he and the others in the field had not done anything wrong, despite participating without the PGA Tour’s waiver. “Of course I’m going to appeal,” Poulter told reporters. “It makes no sense how I’ve played the game of golf for all this time, I’ve had two tour cards and the ability to play all over the world. What’s wrong with that?”

Phil Mickelson, whose participation has aroused the most interest, and much controversy, refused to comment, saying he was not ready to discuss the PGA’s actions. Others, though, were more forthright, convinced that their banishment was related to golf’s established powers fearing competition. Graeme McDowell, who resigned from the PGA Tour 30 minutes before striking his first ball in the new tournament, said he had begun consulting lawyers in anticipation of what was to come.

“We’ve spoken to the lawyers. We have the LIV legal team which are fantastic. We have our own legal team. Some players have decided out of an abundance of caution they were going to resign and just stay away from any litigation,” McDowell said.

The PGA Tour memo acknowledged that many questions remained, such as whether it would eventually restore the eligibility of the players who have been lured to the LIV Golf circuit or those tempted to join them by the new tour’s huge appearance fees and a format that guarantees every entrant six-figure payouts at each event.

Justin Thomas, No. 6 in the world, said he was “pleased” with the PGA Tour’s response.

“Anybody that’s shocked clearly hasn’t been listening to the message that Jay and everybody’s been putting out,” Thomas said after his round Thursday at the Canadian Open. “They took that risk going into it, whether they thought it was a risk or not. Like I’ve said the whole time, I have great belief and great confidence in the PGA Tour and where we’re going and where we’re continuing to grow, and those guys just aren’t going to be a part of it.”

The event itself, a curious mix of team and individual competitions, drew a crowd not dissimilar to other golf events, with many spectators dressed in golf attire and largely middle-aged or retired. A significant portion of the crowd took advantage of hundreds of free tickets that were given away by organizers.

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