Rory McIlroy has been a strong supporter of the PGA Tour by banning all members who signed up for the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational. British golf star Ian Poulter has pledged to appeal the decision and will consider legal action – backed by Saudi money.
Golf is rushing to a showdown on the course after PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan suspended 17 players for playing in the $2 billion separatist league without permission. The decision came minutes after the start of the $25million event in Hertfordshire. Group LIV, which has pledged to pay all fines and legal fees for its players, hit back by calling the US tour “vindictive”.
In a letter to PGA Tour members, Monahan wrote, “These players made their choice for their own financial reasons.”
And speaking at the RBC Canadian Open, world number 8 McIlroy said: “‘All he (Monahan) does is basically play by the rules. I think the majority of the members who are here this week and who haven’t gone and played elsewhere really appreciate that so I think he did the right thing because these guys broke the rules and did things outside of the tournament rules, and because of this there will be consequences.
US PGA winner Justin Thomas added: “I’m happy. They took that risk whether they thought it was a risk or not. I have great faith and confidence in the PGA TOUR and these guys just won’t be part of it.
Ten of the named players, including Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Dustin Johnson, have already resigned from the PGA Tour, but will still be barred from receiving invitations from sponsors.
Ryder Cup legend Poulter, who had retained his membership, said: “I don’t feel like I did anything wrong. I’ve played a lot of tournaments all over the world, this event is no different.