(Los Angeles) The North American Golf Tour (PGA) refuses to grant waivers to players who have requested them, to participate in the kick-off tournament of the dissident Saudi-funded Super League, scheduled for June in London, several American media reported on Tuesday.
One month before the start of this new event (June 9-11), the PGA has decided to toughen up its tone with its members attracted by other very lucrative competitions, outside its framework.
“We have notified those who have registered for this tournament that their waiver request has been denied, per circuit rules,” Vice President Tyler Dennis wrote in a memo.
“As a result, members are not allowed to participate in the Saudi Super League event in London under our regulations. This decision is in the best interest of the circuit and its players,” he added.
A violation of the rules of the circuit by a player may lead to his suspension or his exclusion.
“Unfortunately the PGA seems to want to deprive professional golfers of their right to play unless it’s exclusively in one of their tournaments,” lamented former Australian champion Greg Norman, Super League chief executive.
“But no matter what obstacles the circuit puts in our way, we won’t stop. We will continue to provide players with options that promote the development of golf globally,” he pledged.
Among the stars attracted to the Super League is former world number one Phil Mickelson. In a forthcoming biography by journalist Alan Shipnuck, however, he pointed to the Saudi kingdom’s “horrendous human rights record.”
The winner of six Majors later apologized for his remarks and walked away from the Greens. Holder of the title of the PGA Championship, which will take place next week, he is on the list of participants, but his presence remains to be confirmed.
The Spaniard Sergio Garcia, winner of the 2017 Masters, meanwhile proclaimed his “impatience to leave this circuit. Only a few more weeks until you no longer have to deal with you, “he said during the Wells Fargo Championship in anger after receiving a penalty.
The Super League provides prize pools of $25 million per tournament, more than double each of the four Majors. Not a single PGA event offers so much money.
And the one-upmanship looks set to continue: Norman said $2 billion in additional funding had been secured for a 10-tournament series in 2023.