Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy Support PGA Tour Suspensions of LIV Golf Players: 'They Took That Risk'

The golfers' comments come after PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan announced the suspension of 17 golfers who appeared in the LIV Golf Invitational Series

Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy
Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty; David Cannon/Getty

Golfers Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy are speaking out following the suspension of more than a dozen PGA Tour players who participated in a Saudi-backed LIV Golf event this week.

In a memo on Thursday, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan announced the suspension of 17 golfers who appeared in the rival LIV Golf Invitational Series in England on Thursday.

Following the announcement, Thomas, 29, and McIlroy, 33, shared their unwavering support of the PGA Tour.

"I think anybody that's shocked clearly hasn't been listening to the message that Jay [Monahan] and everybody's been putting out," Thomas said Thursday at the RBC Canadian Open, according to Golf Channel.

"They took that risk going into it, whether they thought it was a risk or not. Like I've said the whole time, I have great belief and great confidence in the PGA Tour and where we're going and continuing to grow to, and those guys just aren't going to be a part of it," he added.

Thomas, a two-time PGA Championship winner, said he was "pleased" with how the PGA Tour handled the situation.

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy. Ben Jared/Getty Images

McIlroy echoed his competitor's sentiment, explaining he believes Monahan was "pretty transparent" and that he would act according to PGA Tour regulations.

"All he's doing is basically going by the book," McIlroy said Thursday, as reported by Golf Monthly. "I think that the majority of the membership that are here this week and that haven't went and played elsewhere really appreciate that."

"So I think he's done the right thing because these guys have broken rules and done things outside of the tournament regulations, and because of that, there are going to be consequences, I guess," he continued.

In Thursday's memo, Monahan outlined the reasoning behind the decision to suspend the players, including golfing legend Phil Mickelson, winner of 45 PGA Tour events, and golfer Dustin Johnson, a former Masters winner. Johnson had resigned from the PGA Tour before the suspensions were announced.

"We have followed the Tournament Regulations from start to finish in responding to those players who have decided to turn their backs on the PGA Tour by willfully violating a regulation," Monahan wrote in the memo obtained by multiple outlets and reviewed by PEOPLE.

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The suspended golfers will be ineligible to appear in the Presidents Cup or other tour events. In addition, the PGA Tour will also suspend any other players who participate in LIV Golf tournaments in the future.

The organization said players who have previously resigned their PGA Tour membership will not be allowed to play in its events as a "non-member via a sponsor exemption" or "any other eligibility category."

"These players have made their choice for their own financial-based reasons," Monahan said in the memo. "But they can't demand the same PGA Tour membership benefits, considerations, opportunities and platform as you. That expectation disrespects you, our fans and our partners."

In a statement to PEOPLE on Thursday, LIV Golf criticized the suspensions issued by the PGA Tour.

"Today's announcement by the PGA Tour is vindictive and it deepens the divide between the Tour and its members," the organization said. "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."

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