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PGA Tour denies golfers’ waiver requests to play Saudi-backed LIV Golf league event in London

PGA Tour denies golfers' waiver requests to play Saudi-backed LIV Golf league event in London

In a surprising decision by the PGA Tour this week, golfers who sought permission to play in the first LIV Golf Invitational Series tournament have been denied their waiver requests. It is unknown at this time whether any PGA Tour players will risk punishment by going ahead with participation in the event at the Centurion Club in London from June 9-11.

“We have notified those who have applied that their request has been declined in accordance with the PGA TOUR Tournament Regulations. As such, TOUR members are not authorized to participate in the Saudi Golf League’s London event under our Regulations,” said PGA Tour senior vice president Tyler Dennis in a memo to players. “As a membership organization, we believe this decision is in the best interest of the PGA TOUR and its players.”

The belief was that the PGA Tour, which must grant permission to its members to play in events outside the PGA Tour itself, would approve the waivers for the first of eight LIV Golf events this year before denying them at a later date when the league moved to North American turf. Instead, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has laid down the law early, denying his membership the ability to participate in the big-money events from the jump.

This is slightly unusual. Many golfers, including Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson were granted waivers earlier this year to play in the Saudi International, which is an event on the Asian Tour. However, the PGA Tour sees this LIV Golf Invitational series differently, ostensibly because it is not a one-off event but the beginning of a rival league. The PGA Tour only allows players three waiver requests a year.

If players choose to defy those denied waivers and play the event anyway, Monahan has consistently maintained in private that players could be suspended and permanently banned from the PGA Tour.

“Our PGA Tour rules and regulations were written by the players, for the players,” said Monahan at the Players Championship earlier this year, implying that suspensions and bans would hold up in a court of law. “They’ve been in existence for over 50 years. I’m confident in our rules and regulations, my ability to administer them, and that’s my position on the matter. … We’re confident in our position, and we’re going to keep moving forward as a PGA Tour and focus on the things that we control.”

PGA Tour players who either requested waiver releases or were linked with the league include Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Jason Kokrak, Kevin Na and Robert Garrigus. Then there’s Mickelson, of course, who is by far the biggest name involved, seemingly the linchpin for the entire thing and will undoubtedly end up being the poster boy in a court of law for how this all shakes out.

LIV Golf is a Saudi Arabia-financed league that is laboring to create an alternative golf tour while luring some of the top players in the world to its events. It was reported that Phil Mickelson helped write the operating agreement for the league before he disappeared from public view following some controversial comments about the folks running the league he allegedly helped start. The 48-golfer, 12-team LIV Golf events — five of which are slated to be played in the United States later this year — will have purses of $20 million, including a $5 million payout to the top team at each event.

Greg Norman, who is currently serving as the CEO of LIV Golf, has been adamant that legally-speaking golfers — who are considered independent contractors — could not be banned from the PGA Tour. The Tour obviously sees that differently. While this waiver denial is certainly surprising for the first event — the PGA Tour grants waivers all the time to events not held on North American soil — this was always going to come to a head at some point later on when the leagues clashed with conflicting events on the same dates in the United States.

This entire saga has been one that would likely head to court since the day it began. Now, it seems that is likely to happen sooner than originally thought.

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ISPR denies media report on events at PM House CanIndia News

ISPR denies media report on events at PM House CanIndia News

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the Pakistan military’s media wing, on Sunday rejected a media report over alleged events that took place at the Prime Minister’s House the previous night, saying it was “totally baseless and a pack of lies”.

The BBC Urdu report alleged that “two uninvited guests” reached the Prime Minister’s House, with an extraordinary security detail, via helicopter and held a 45-minute private meeting with ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan, Dawn news reported.

The biggest claim in the report, made by citing government sources, was that the meeting was less than pleasant.

“Just an hour ago, former Prime Minister Imran Khan had given orders to remove one of the senior officials present for the meeting,” the report said.

It went on to say that the sudden arrival of the guests was “unexpected” for the former premier, adding that Khan was instead expecting the arrival of his “newly appointed officials”.

The report further alleged that the necessary notifications for the removal and the new appointment were not issued by the Ministry of Defence.

“Even if the removal was carried out on the prime minister’s orders, preparations had been made to declare it null and void.”

The report also talked about how the doors of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) were open late at night to take up a petition asking the court to restrain Khan from possibly de-notifying Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

The urgent petition, which was filed but never fixed for hearing, said that Khan, for political and personal purposes, had misused his powers and recommended the removal of the Chief of Army Staff, urging the court to quash the order in public interest, the report said.

“It is important to mention that while the petition was prepared, the space for the number of the notification regarding the army chief’s dismissal was left blank. The reason for this was that despite the Prime Minister’s request, the notification could not be issued and there was no need for a hearing,” the report concluded.

Reacting to the BBC Urdu report, the ISPR branded the story “typical propaganda” lacking “any credible, authentic and relevant source” and claiming that it “violates basic journalistic ethos”, Dawn news reported.

“There is no truth in the fake story whatsoever and clearly seems part of an organised disinformation campaign. The matter is being taken up with BBC authorities,” it added.


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Gassy Jack statue toppling denies Squamish Nation planned reconciliation event

Gassy Jack statue toppling denies Squamish Nation planned reconciliation event

The toppling of a Gastown statue honouring Vancouver’s first saloon keeper was done without the consent of the Squamish Nation, which had already reached an agreement with the City of Vancouver to remove the statue because of troubling details about the man’s life.

John “Gassy Jack” Deighton was 40 years old at the time of his wedding to a 12-year-old Squamish girl named Quahail-ya.

The two had one child together before she found the courage to run away from the relationship after less than three years.

On Monday, during the annual Women’s Memorial March through the Downtown Eastside, a group of people pulled the statue down and attempted to behead it, as hundreds of others roared in approval.

“I’m into it. I’m all for it. I love it,” said a woman named Daisy, who works at a nearby Gastown restaurant.

“He was a really bad, bad person. And to be in this neighbourhood, in particular, to be some kind of symbol to be looked at or admired is archaic,” added Nicole Lefaivre, who attended the march honouring missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

Deighton’s marriage to Quahail-ya is a story that has been told by Squamish Nation elders through the generations but was not well-known in the broader community.

In the past few years, calls for the statue’s removal have grown louder. One petition has garnered more than 23,000 signatures.

“I can’t imagine the empowerment that everyone felt in that moment,” said march attendee Ria Kisoun about the statue coming down.

But in acting unilaterally, the group of activists have undermined the reconciliation work already underway.

“Mayor Kennedy reached out to the nation and opened the dialogue,” said elected Squamish Nation councillor Wilson Williams. “Ever since then, we’ve taken leadership on this file and the city was fine with that.”

Wilson said the Squamish Nation needs to be at the forefront of reconciliation initiatives related to its ancestors.

The nation and city had also been in consultation with Quahail’ya’s living descendants who would have been offered the opportunity to participate in an event around the statue’s removal when details had been finalized.

“We want to be mindful and respectful and really walk softly. I always say this in my walk of life, if you don’t know, please ask. Our doors are open as Squamish people,” Wilson said.

“I know we have a lot of activist groups in First Nations circles, but you know, we’re all responsible for reconciliation and it is our duty to reach out and ensure that we are doing the proper thing in the lands where we are.”

Vancouver police have opened a mischief investigation into the toppling of the statue but no arrests have been made.

The Squamish Nation says it plans to continue working with the city and Quahail’ya’s relatives to come up with a plan for a more appropriate monument at the site where the statue stood.