PGA Tour Suspends 17 Golfers, Including Phil Mickelson, for Participating in LIV Golf Tournament

The suspensions come after the golfers agreed to appear in the first event organized by Saudi-backed LIV Golf, a PGA Tour rival

Phil Mickelson of the United States watches his shot from the tenth tee during the Pro-Am prior to the Sentry Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club on January 05, 2022
Photo: Cliff Hawkins/Getty

The PGA Tour is suspending more than a dozen members who participated in the inaugural event for the Saudi-backed LIV Golf tour.

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

"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, which was obtained by multiple outlets and reviewed by PEOPLE.

"Simultaneous to you receiving this memo, the players are being notified that they are suspended or otherwise no longer eligible to participate in PGA Tour tournament play, including the Presidents Cup," he added.

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.

Among those suspended are golfing legend Phil Mickelson, winner of 45 PGA Tour events. Golfer Dustin Johnson, a former Masters winner who resigned from the PGA Tour this week, is also suspended.

PEOPLE has reached out to Mickelson and Johnson's representatives for comment.

Dustin Johnson of the United States celebrates on the 18th green after winning the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on November 15, 2020 in Augusta, Georgia.
Patrick Smith/Getty

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."

He added: "I am certain our fans and partners — who are surely tired of the all this talk of money, money and money — will continue to be entertained and compelled by the world-class competition you display each and every week, where there are true consequences for every shot you take and your rightful place in history whenever you reach that elusive winner's circles."

In addition to Mickelson and Johnson, the PGA Tour also suspended:

-Series Garcia
-Andy Ogletree
-Talor Gooch
-Louis Oosthuizen
-Branden Grace
-Turk Pettit
-Ian Poulter
-Matt Jones
-Charl Schwartzel
-Martin Kaymer
-Hudson Swafford
-Graeme McDowell
-Peter Uihlein
-Lee Westwood
-Kevin Na

Garcia, Oosthuizen, Grace, Pettit, Schwartzel, Kaymer, McDowell, Westwood, and Na joined Johnson in resigning from the PGA Tour before starting the LIV Golf Invitational on Thursday.

In a statement to PEOPLE, 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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"This certainly is not the last word on this topic," they continued. "The era of free agency is beginning as we are proud to have a full field of players joining us in London, and beyond."

After its event this week, LIV Golf is scheduled to host more events in cities including Portland, Boston, Chicago, Miami, and Bangkok, throughout 2022.

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