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Seminole Pro-Member

Here's the one 'major' tournament that won't be letting LIV players compete

February 26, 2023
Seminole 2 Carlos Amoedo.jpg

An overhead view of Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Fla.

Carlos Amoedo

LIV golfers aren’t being kept out of the four men’s majors by the organizations that run them. But that isn’t stopping another high-profile club that runs what some have affectionately called “the year’s first major” from saying no to the pros on the Saudi-backed circuit.

The tee sheet for the prestigious Seminole Pro-Member tournament, which takes place on Monday at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Fla., has been released, and there is a noticeable absence: no members of the LIV Golf League are participating.

A month ago, Golfweek reported that Seminole would not be inviting an LIV players, despite the fact they would likely be available to compete as the upstart tour wrapped up its season-opening event at Mayakoba Resort in Mexico on Sunday.

The Seminole Pro-Member was started in 2004, the two-person team event traditionally being played on the Monday after the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic. Over the years, it has seen its field filled by a who’s who of top-ranked men’s and women’s players. In 2022, former major winners Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Adam Scott and Shane Lowry were among those competing, along with LPGA standouts Nelly and Jessica Korda.

Past winners of the event have included Davis Love III, Rickie Fowler (three times), McIlroy, and a year ago, Patrick Cantlay.

“We are doing what we have always done,” Seminole president Jimmy Dunne told Golfweek. “PGA Tour players get the first priority. This event has always been supported by the PGA Tour. We try to make this a special and unique day for tour players.”

The stance from Dunne and the club is not that surprising, even when you consider that Dunne himself has teamed with now LIV players Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson in the past. Dunne was appointed to PGA Tour Policy Board in November. Two other Seminole members, Ed Herlihy and Mark Flaherty, are also PGA Tour board members (Herlihy is the board chair; Flaherty is the member who won the title with Cantlay in 2022). The PGA Tour has banned any players who compete on the LIV Golf circuit from playing in PGA Tour events and is in the midst of a lawsuit with the upstart golf league.

Several players now playing for LIV competed in the 2022 Pro-Member, including Johnson, Ian Poulter, Martin Kaymer, Sergio Garcia, Cameron Tringale, Peter Uihlein, Hudson Swafford, Bubba Watson, Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace, Harold Varner III and Andy Ogletree.