PGA Tour Suspends Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and All Current, Future LIV Golfers

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJune 9, 2022

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 07: Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson of The United States pose for a photograph during the LIV Golf Invitational - London Draft on June 07, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/LIV Golf/Getty Images)
Aitor Alcalde/LIV Golf/Getty Images

As expected, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has formally suspended golfers taking part in LIV Golf's debut tournament Thursday in London.

A memo sent by Monahan states the players are no longer eligible for PGA Tour events and will be stripped of their "membership benefits, considerations, opportunities and platform":

Eamon Lynch @eamonlynch

PGA Tour suspends current and future LIV players. <a href="https://t.co/lKhxo27Ida">pic.twitter.com/lKhxo27Ida</a>

Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia are among the 17 players named in the memo.

LIV Golf released a statement in response to the PGA Tour's announcement:

LIV Golf @LIVGolfInv

Official statement from LIV Golf <a href="https://t.co/UBt4DpRdS4">pic.twitter.com/UBt4DpRdS4</a>

The rival tour started its first-ever round at 9 a.m. ET on Thursday, and Monahan sent the memo less than 30 minutes later.

Last year, Monahan informed PGA Tour membership that any golfer who teed off on a different tour would be suspended and could face a permanent ban.

Greg Norman, a former PGA Tour star who serves as the CEO of LIV Golf, said last month the tour's stance is "anti-golfer, anti-fan and anti-competitive."

A court battle is likely on the horizon to determine whether the PGA Tour can permanently ban golfers, who are independent contractors, from competition.

Two more high-profile players, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed, have reached agreements to join LIV for future events, per James Corrigan of the Telegraph. They will likely be suspended as soon as they play their first event for the new organization.

LIV Golf, which is financially backed by Saudi Arabia, is engaged in contract talks with other PGA Tour players, including Rickie Fowler and Jason Kokrak, according to ESPN's Mark Schlabach.

Golf's four major tournaments are separate entities, and Mickelson told Bob Harig of Sports Illustrated on Monday he's been informed LIV golfers will be welcome to play those events, starting at next week's U.S. Open in Massachusetts.

"I've had many conversations with the organizations that run the majors. And I do want to keep those conversations private," Mickelson said. "But I am looking forward to playing the U.S. Open and I'll be there. I'm under the understanding that I'm able to play."

The USGA subsequently released a statement confirming LIV players are eligible to compete:

U.S. Open (USGA) @usopengolf

USGA statement on the 2022 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/USOpen?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#USOpen</a> field: <a href="https://t.co/vv84gmbr2n">pic.twitter.com/vv84gmbr2n</a>

Monahan wrote in the memo the exodus is because of golfers' "own financial-based reasons."

Mickelson signed a contract worth around $200 million, per Brentley Romine of Golf Channel. By comparison, Lefty has recorded $94 million in on-course earnings across 30 years on the PGA Tour, according to Forbes.

While LIV holds its inaugural event in London, the PGA Tour is hosting the RBC Canadian Open in Toronto this weekend.