PGA Tour reportedly denies exemptions for first LIV Golf event

The PGA Tour is taking a stand against Greg Norman’s Saudi-backed golf venture.

The Tour denied its members permission to play in the first LIV Golf series event in London next month on Tuesday, according to Golfweek.

All Tour members are required to get a waiver in order to play in non-Tour events, like those on the DP World Tour or elsewhere. The Tour has a long standing of letting players, especially international players, compete overseas on a limited basis.

Commissioner Jay Monahan, however, has been very clear that he and the Tour are not supportive of the Saudi-backed league. He has said in the past that any player who does leave the Tour for the LIV Golf series risks losing his Tour card permanently.

Only a handful of Tour players have publicly said they have requested a release to play in the first tournament, which is set to begin on June 9 at the Centurion Golf Club in London. That event is set opposite of the Canadian Open.

Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Phil Mickelson have all requested a release, among others, though other big stars — like Rory McIlroy, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson and more — have distanced themselves in recent months.

Norman claims he had several of the sport’s biggest names ready to jump to his league, but that most backed off after Mickelson’s controversial comments about Saudi Arabia came out earlier this year. Mickelson hasn’t played since his comments — where he said he was willing to overlook the Saudis, who he called “scary motherf***ers,” and their horrific human rights record — surfaced.

"We had enough players in our strength of field, or minimal viable product, ready to come on board,” Norman said. “And when all of that happened, everybody got the jitters, and the PGA Tour threatened people with lifetime bans and stuff like that."

The full field for the first of the eight event series is expected to be released after the PGA Championship next week.

PGA Tour logo
The PGA Tour doesn't want its golfers playing in the first LIV Golf event in London next month. (Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)