PGA Tour, in surprising decision, will allow its golfers to play in LIV Golf event 

Jay Monahan

Jay Monahan in August at the Tour Championship.

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The PGA Tour, in a surprising decision, will let its players participate in an upcoming LIV Golf event.

As first reported by Sports Illustrated’s Alex Miceli and confirmed by on Saturday, Tour players can play without penalty next month in the LIV Golf Promotions event, which will award its top three finishers a spot in the 48-player LIV tour next year. Previously, the PGA Tour had deemed LIV Golf events to be “unauthorized events,” and its players who played in them were subject to a one-year Tour suspension.

But in a statement, the Tour said the Promotions event “is determined to be a qualifying event only and not a part of an unauthorized series” — so no suspension. Below is the Tour’s complete statement:

“Based on the information publicly available regarding the LIV Golf Promotion event, it is determined to be a qualifying event only and not a part of an unauthorized series. Therefore, the LIV Golf Promotion event is not categorized as an ‘unauthorized tournament.’ This classification is subject to change should the details of the event change.”

The Promotion event, though, still appears to be the only LIV event that PGA Tour players can play — meaning that should they finish in the top three, they’ll have a decision. Over email, also asked a Tour official whether there had been a change in the Tour’s “unauthorized tournament” rule, and the question went unanswered. 

The rule reads as such:

“Any player who has participated in an unauthorized tournament is ineligible to compete in any event sanctioned by the PGA Tour for a period of one year, from the final round of competition of the unauthorized tournament in which he participated.”

The Tour’s declaration is surprising. And maybe revealing. 

For one year and two seasons, the Tour and LIV Golf have battled, with players leaving the established brand for the upstart, and various shots being thrown. Then came June. And the biggest stunner: Tour commissioner Jay Monahan was sitting next to Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund — which has backed LIV. The two sides had come to a proposed deal that would create a for-profit entity operated by the sides.  

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Key here is the word ‘proposed.’ The agreement on the Tour side needs approval, and there’s been little word on the negotiations. But could this recent decision be a signal of where things are headed? 

Maybe. You’re not wrong in thinking this feels like an olive branch. Or it could be nothing.  

As for the Promotions event, it will be played across three days (Dec. 8 to 10) and 72 holes at Abu Dhabi Golf Club in the United Arab Emirates. Entry is $25, it’s open to various, predetermined players, and the purse will be $1.5 million. 

Very likely, the Tour’s decision should spike interest. Players can play, then decide — though you’d think the choice would be relatively obvious should they travel to the Middle East and either win or finish in the top three. 

Before the news, players at the Volvo China Open were curious who would enter. That tournament is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and LIV Golf League’s International Series. 

“Obviously we have all seen the exemption categories, but we don’t know what players will show up,” said Andy Ogletree, who is in line for a LIV Golf spot next year as the leader of the Asian Tour’s season-long standings. 

“Some players might be worried about losing their current status so it will be really interesting to see.”

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