Justin Thomas Says PGA Tour Players Interested in LIV Events Should 'Just Go'May 11, 2022
Justin Thomas is tired of fellow PGA Tour players wavering on their decisions about whether they will participate in the Saudi Arabian-backed LIV events.
Mark Schlabach of ESPN reported the PGA Tour sent a memo to its players Tuesday denying releases for anyone looking to compete in the LIV Golf Invitational Series from June 9 to 11 because it conflicts with the RBC Canadian Open. Those who participate in it anyway without a release will face possible suspensions or bans from the PGA Tour.
Thomas said he hopes the potential punishments would stop players from going to the competing tour but also suggested anyone who wants to should just make up their mind:
"It's like, 'Look, if you want to go, go. There's been plenty of guys that have been advocates of it and have just talked it up all the time, and there have been guys behind the scenes that are saying, 'I'm going, I'm doing this.' And like my whole thing is, like, just go then.
"Like, stop going back and forth or like you say you're going to do this. Everybody's entitled to do what they want, you know what I mean? Like if I wanted to go play that tour I could go play that tour. But I'm loyal to the PGA Tour and I've said that."
Thomas wasn't the only one who shared his thoughts on the memo, as Will Zalatoris called it the "perfect response from the tour," and world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler said he wasn't surprised.
"If you're playing here on the PGA Tour, playing in something that could be a rival series to the PGA Tour, being a member of our tour, it's definitely not something where we want our membership to do because it's going to harm the tournament that we have opposite that," Scheffler said.
Schlabach noted Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood were among those who requested a release.
That Garcia and Mickelson requested a release comes as no surprise.
Garcia was heard saying, "I can't wait to leave this tour" during a dispute with a rules official at the Wells Fargo Championship. "Just a couple of more weeks until I don't have to deal with you anymore," he continued.
Mickelson made the most headlines for comments to the Fire Pit Collective's Alan Shipnuck in which he called the Saudi government "scary motherf--kers" but saw a chance to change golf and make more money.
"... We know they killed [Washington Post reporter and U.S. resident Jamal] Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights," Mickelson said. "They execute people over there for being gay. Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates."
Those comments drew plenty of criticism, and Greg Norman, who is the CEO of LIV Golf Investments, told Schlabach they led to players dropping consideration to join the alternate golf league.
The PGA is looking to convince more players to stop considering the LIV series with these potential punishments.