LIV Golf vs. PGA Tour
LIV Golf players informed they are ineligible for PGA Tour membership renewal
Former PGA Tour players who have jumped to LIV Golf were informed Thursday that they are ineligible to have their tour memberships renewed with the 2022-23 season set to begin in two weeks. The news, first reported by Morning Read, has been confirmed by Golf Digest.
Though a number of LIV defectors, including Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed, have resigned from the tour, there are 22 individuals—highlighted by Phil Mickelson and Bryon DeChambeau—who did not formally or voluntarily surrender their memberships. Those players received letters stating, “The Tour cannot enter into a membership agreement with a player when, as here, it reasonably anticipates the player will not perform the material obligations under that agreement.”
The letter continues: “Accordingly, your PGA Tour membership cannot and will not be renewed for the 2022-2023 PGA Tour season.”
A person with the tour clarified to Golf Digest that the contracts and agreements players have made with LIV Golf prevent them from upholding PGA Tour membership requirements.
All tour members who signed with LIV Golf and played in a LIV event have been given suspensions by the tour for failing to obtain conflicting-event releases as required by the tour’s handbook. Additionally, Mickelson was served an earlier suspension for recruiting players to LIV Golf, and received added time to that suspension for playing in the first two LIV Golf events.
Eleven suspended players filed an antitrust lawsuit against the tour in August protesting their suspensions, although four of those have since withdrawn their names from the suit. Mickelson, who is one of the players who has remained in the lawsuit, has asserted that because his lifetime membership (given to those who have won a minimum of 20 career tour events) was earned and that it shouldn’t be taken away. A tentative date for summary judgment has been set for July 23, 2023, where the tour will likely seek to dismiss the antitrust case, with a trial date expected to begin on Jan. 8, 2024.
LIV Golf is holding its fourth event this week outside of Boston.