LIV Golf

Why this LIV golfer could be the first player to return to the PGA Tour

November 03, 2023

Charles Laberge/LIV Golf

A former amateur star could become the first LIV Golf member to return to the PGA Tour.

Turk Pettit is best known to golf audiences for capturing the 2021 NCAA Championship at Grayhawk GC in Scottsdale, Ariz. Two months later Pettit showed the victory was not a fluke, winning on the PGA Tour-affiliated Forme circuit (created during the pandemic due to travel restrictions with Canada's MacKenzie Tour). His performance earned him nine starts the following season between the PGA and Korn Ferry tours, highlighted by a T-31 finish at the 2022 Wells Fargo Championship. However, just weeks after the Wells Fargo, Pettit defected to the Saudi-backed LIV circuit, resigning his Korn Ferry membership in the process and subsequently earning a suspension by the PGA Tour.

Pettit played in all eight LIV Golf events during the 2022 inaugural season, with Pettit assigned to the Niblicks GC. Pettit mostly struggled in the fledgling league, ultimately finishing 41st in LIV’s individual standings, although he still banked $1.7 million on the campaign. When the Niblicks were rebranded to the Range Goats for 2023 under captain Bubba Watson, Pettit was removed from the roster, relegated to playing this past season on the Asian Tour (which has a partnership with LIV). But because the Asian Tour is a full member of the International Federation of PGA Tours, Pettit did not earn further suspension.

That’s a key point, because the PGA Tour’s non-member policy states that “any player who has participated in an event or series of events during the 2022-2023 PGA Tour season that the membership has been informed is not authorized by the PGA Tour is ineligible to compete in any event sanctioned by the PGA Tour for a period of one year from the final round of competition of the unauthorized tournament in which he participated.” As Pettit’s last LIV event was in Jeddah from Oct. 14-16 in 2022, he was eligible to compete in PGA Tour sanctioned events beginning Oct. 17, 2023. This allowed Pettit, now 24, to enter the tour’s revamped Q-School, and with a nine-under score at the Montgomery, Texas site he advanced to the second stage. For the first time in a decade, PGA Tour cards will be available through Q-School, with the top five finishers earning promotion to the tour. Meaning Pettit could become the first former LIV member to regain tour status.

The PGA Tour’s framework agreement with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund in June seemingly signaled LIV players could come back to their former tour. However, that agreement appears very much in the air with the Dec. 31 deadline weeks away. Pettit still has eight rounds to go before earning status, but with the window of detente between the tour and LIV possibly closing, he could be the only LIV player to return for the foreseeable future.

Pettit, No. 841 in the world ranking, played 14 events on the Asian Tour in 2023. His best finish was a T-8. The PGA Tour's Q-School Final Stage begins Dec. 14.