Allowing PGA Tour Golfers to Play in LIV Qualifier is Bonkers
For his latest View From The Fairway, Golfshake's Derek Clements expresses his astonishment that PGA Tour members will be given permission to enter the LIV Golf Promotion event in December, which could grant a player a golden ticket into the 2024 series.
Have I missed something? As you will all know, the PGA Tour has banned LIV players from its events, but in an extraordinary twist it will allow members to enter a LIV Golf qualifying event next month.
The tour has decided its players can compete in the December 8-10 event at Abu Dhabi without fear of being suspended.
According to a statement from the PGA Tour: "Based on the information publicly available regarding the LIV Golf Promotion event, it is determined to be a qualifying event only and not a part of an unauthorised series.
"Therefore, the LIV Golf Promotion event is not categorised as an 'unauthorised tournament.' This classification is subject to change should the details of the event change.”
So a tournament set up as part of the qualification process for a tour that you don’t recognise is not part of that tour? What on earth are these people on?
I am speechless. And am I the only person on the planet to notice the most serious flaw in this show of magnanimity?
What happens if a PGA Tour pro, having being given permission to take part in this qualifying tournament, goes ahead and wins it? Apparently, the top three finishers after 72 holes (yes, this IS a 72-hole event) will be awarded LIV Golf berths for 2024. And I presume that those spots will come with some sort of contract.
So what will Jay Monahan say to the man who wins if he also happens to be a PGA Tour member? “Erm, sorry my son. I know that I told you it was OK to play in this tournament and that it was fine to pick up the first prize. But no, you cannot now go and play on the tour for which you have just qualified. Oh, and well played by the way. What’s that you say? I can expect to hear from your lawyer?"
Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. Kindly explain to me how the PGA Tour could say that it is fine to play in this tournament and then impose any kind of a penalty on any of its members who, having been given permission to play, then earns the right to go and chase the Saudi dollar?
The slight softening of the hard-line stance between the PGA and LIV comes as a year-end deadline approaches to sign off on a merger framework agreement unveiled in June that would unite the Saudi-backers of LIV, the Public Investment Fund, with the PGA and DP World tours.
I should say that I do not believe there is a snowball’s chance in hell of that deadline being met, and I would expect some sort of announcement to that effect within the next few days.
Rumours persist that the PGA Tour and LIV are finding it increasingly difficult to work out their differences. And Fenway Sports Group, owners of Liverpool Football Club, the Boston Red Sox and major investors in the newly-announced TGL golf league fronted by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, have expressed an interest in getting involved with the PGA Tour.
While promoting the TGL league, McIlroy had some fairly cutting things to say about LIV.
He said: "We're [trying] to be competitive and it's a different type of golf but it's not the traditional golf that you see week in, week out," McIlroy said.
"I don't want to sit here and talk about LIV, but you could make the argument that they haven't innovated enough from what traditional golf is or they have innovated too much that they're not traditional golf.
"They're sort of out in no man's land whereas [TGL] is so far removed from what we know golf to be.”
It’s funny how often McIlroy sets out not to talk about LIV and then does precisely the opposite. It is safe to assume that he will not be one of those asking Monahan to play in the LIV qualifier.
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