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LIV Golf players ineligible for PGA Tour membership renewal

USATodaySports/Richard Cashin
Kevin Na lines up on his tee shot on the 13th during the second round of the LIV Golf tournament at The International.

The PGA Tour players, who have been indefinitely suspended by the US-based circuit for joining LIV Golf, were informed this week that they are not eligible to renew their membership for the season 2022-23, Reuters confirmed on Friday.

As first reported by Sports Illustrated, a letter sent on Thursday to 22 players who had not yet retired from the PGA Tour, said their LIV contracts are preventing them from meeting membership requirements for the 2022-23 season meet, which starts in two weeks.

Among the players who have chosen not to retire from the PGA Tour after joining the controversial Saudi-backed LIV golf series are six-time Major winner Phil Mickelson and 2020 US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and world number two Cameron Smith.

Former Masters champions Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia are among the players who have canceled their PGA Tour memberships after joining LIV Golf, which has attracted players with staggering amounts of money.

Some of the players to whom the letter was sent did not plan to renew their membership or did not qualify for the next season anyway.

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan recently unveiled a series of changes to combat the LIV Golf threat, but was clear that those who have joined the Breakaway Series should not seek a return even with the changes address them.

“No. You have joined the LIV Golf Series and made that commitment. For most of them, they’ve made multi-year commitments,” Monahan said.

“As I’ve said clearly all along, every player has a choice and I respect their choices, but they made them. We made ours. We will continue to focus on the things that we can control and get stronger. ”

Critics say LIV Golf, funded by Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund, amounts to “sports washing” by a nation trying to improve its reputation amid criticism of its human rights record.