In CBS interview, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan defends disciplinary action against LIV Golf players

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Earlier this week, commissioner Jay Monahan suspended PGA Tour players who participated in the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series event outside of London for an unspecified time, a group including Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel.

On Sunday, during the CBS telecast of the final round of the RBC Canadian Open, Monahan didn’t backtrack on his decision.

In other words, expect more suspensions for players who join LIV Golf.

“It’s been an unfortunate week that was created by some unfortunate decisions, those decisions being players choosing to violate our tournament regulations,” Monahan said. “It’s my job to protect, defend, and celebrate our loyal PGA Tour members, our partners and our fans. And that’s exactly what I did. And I don’t think it was a surprise to anybody. Given how clear I had been about how we were going to handle this situation.”

When asked by CBS’ Jim Nantz why players can’t play both, Monahan responded quickly and decisively.

“Why do they need us so badly? Because those players have chosen to sign multi-year lucrative contracts to play in a series of exhibition matches against the same players over and over again,” Monahan said. “You look at that versus what we see here today, and that’s why they need us so badly. You’ve got true, pure competition. The best players in the world are here at the RBC Canadian Open, with millions of fans watching, and in this game, it’s true and pure competition that creates the profile in the presence of the world’s greatest players.

“And that’s why they need us. That’s what we do. But we’re not going to allow players to freeride off of our loyal members, the best players in the world.”

The rival league will have seven more events this year, each a 54-hole, shotgun start, no-cut, 48-man tournament with a team format. The next tournament will be in July opposite the John Deere Classic. Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Pat Perez will join LIV Golf and play in Portland.

In addition to staggering signing bonuses – Mickelson reportedly received $200 million to sign, Johnson $125 million – LIV Golf will dole out $255 million in prize money. Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, won the inaugural LIV Golf event, his first title since 2016. Schwartzel pocketed $4 million for the victory and another $750,000 for being a member of the winning team.

The league is led by Greg Norman and backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds. Players have faced criticism for playing LIV Golf because of Saudi Arabia’s alleged human rights violations, which include the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

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How it started vs. how it's going: Here's what pro golfers said before about LIV Golf, and what they're saying now

2022 LIV Golf London
2022 LIV Golf London