Just minutes after the inaugural round of the LIV Golf tour teed off, the PGA Tour fired a shot of its own: a suspension of any players who compete on the LIV tour, now and in the future. Seventeen players are affected by the ban as it stands, with more potentially to come in the future.
The players are now ineligible to compete on any PGA Tour-affiliated event and will not be permitted to participate in the Tour's season-ending FedEx Cup or in the Presidents Cup.
Affected active PGA Tour players listed by name include Phil Mickelson and Ian Poulter. Many others, including Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Kevin Na, Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell have resigned their membership from the PGA Tour. Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed will reportedly jump to the LIV tour when it arrives in the United States for its second event in early July.
"These players have made their choice for their own financial-based reasons," the Tour said. "But they can't demand the same PGA Tour membership benefits, considerations, opportunities and platform as [Tour players who didn't make the leap]."
LIV Golf responded with a terse statement of its own.
“Today’s announcement by the PGA Tour is vindictive and it deepens the divide between the Tour and its members," LIV Golf said in a statement shortly after the Tour's was released. "It’s troubling that the Tour, an organization 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.”
Mickelson, Johnson and others made the leap to the LIV Golf tour over the last few weeks. The LIV tour, backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, promises massive paychecks to all players who compete in its tournaments. The winner of this weekend's tournament at Centurion Golf Club, for instance, will receive $4 million.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him at email@example.com.