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The rebel players on the new LIV Golf tour have been banned with immediate effect by the PGA Tour.
Players were notified moments after teeing off at the inaugural event at Centurion Golf Club that they would no longer be able to compete in PGA Tour events, including the Presidents Cup.
PGA Tour president Jay Monahan said the players were “in violation of our tournament regulations” and had “decided to turn their backs" on the tour by taking part in the eight-tournament series. The length of bans and whether the players might be welcomed back in the future were not specified.
The statement, also sent to all other players on the PGA Tour, continued: “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.”
In response to the ban, LIV Golf said in a statement: “Today’s announcement by the PGA Tour is vindictive and it deepens the divide between the Tour and its members. It’s troubling that the tour, an organisation dedicated to creating opportunities for golfers to play the game, is the entity blocking golfers from playing.
“This certainly is not the last word on this topic. The era of free agency is beginning as we are proud to have a full field of players joining us in London, and beyond.”
The 48-man tournament got under way on Thursday afternoon with star names including Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter.
Other names are expected to be added to the list of entries for future LIV Golf events, among them Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Rickie Fowler, who will face the same PGA Tour sanctions.
“The same fate holds true for any other players who participate in future Saudi Golf League events in violation of our regulations,” the PGA Tour said.
Johnson, Garcia and Kevin Na had already resigned from the PGA Tour. The statement also clarified that Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen and Westwood were among the others who have given up their PGA Tour membership before playing in the LIV Golf series.