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Report: PGA Tour Plans to Bar Japanese Golf Tour Players Who Play in LIV Events

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 1, 2022

AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File

The PGA Tour will reportedly ban any players from the Japan Golf Tour who have already participated in LIV Golf Series events or choose to participate in LIV events during the 2022-23 series, according to Bob Harig of SI.com.

Per that report, "The move helps explain why all four of the Japanese players who competed in the last LIV Golf Invitational Series event in New Jersey are not in this week’s field outside of Boston."

Those players are Yuki Inamori, Ryosuke Kinoshita, Jinichiro Kozuma and Hideto Tanihara, who played in the July's LIV Golf Series event at the Trump Bedminster in New Jersey.

Per a letter sent from the Japan Golf Tour to its players this week, as obtained by Harig, those players who played in an LIV event "remain ineligible for all events across all PGA Tour-sanctioned tours through the end of the calendar year, including the Zozo Championship."

The PGA Tour already banned three LIV Golf defectors—Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford, and Matt Jones—from its FedEx Cup Playoffs, a decision that US District Judge Beth Freeman upheld in early August after those players requested a temporary stay on the decision amidst their lawsuit against the PGA Tour.

"We're disappointed that Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones won't be allowed to play golf," the LIV Golf Series said in an statement at the time. "No one gains by banning golfers from playing."

Gooch, Swafford and Jones are part of a lawsuit comprised of 11 total players who made the exodus to LIV Golf, including Phil Mickelson, in response to the PGA Tour banning them from events.

"These suspended players—who are now Saudi Golf League employees—have walked away from the TOUR and now want back in," PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan wrote in a memo to PGA Tour members earlier in August. "To allow reentry into our events compromises the TOUR and the competition, to the detriment of our organization, our players, our partners and our fans."

And now the PGA Tour's ban on LIV defectors has extended to the JGTO.

The LIV Golf Series, backed by Saudi Arabia, remains a highly controversial operation. It has been accused of being a venture undertaken to help sportswash the country's human rights violations.

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