No names have been confirmed but a report suggests that as many as 15 of the world’s top-100 ranked golfers have asked for a release from the PGA Tour to play in the first tournament of the LIV Golf Invitational Series.
The news was first reported by Bob Harig of Sports Illustrated.
The tournament is set for June 9-11 at the Centurion Golf Club near London, England. It will conflict with the RBC Canadian Open, which is being held after two years of cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
PGA Tour members must obtain a release to play in a tournament that conflicts with a stop on the PGA Tour schedule. For this first event, requests must be made no later than April 25. They will be given an answer 30 days prior to the start of the tournament.
So far, the only golfer confirmed to have done that is Robert Garrigus, who is ranked 1,053rd in the world.
Organizers have said the tournament will have a full field of 48 golfers who will vie for a purse of $25 million, with 70 having already applied to play. It’s the first of eight scheduled events on the LIV Golf series calendar.
It was earlier believed that many top players might switch allegiances and play in the league backed by Saudi money, but one by one, they came out in support of the PGA Tour.
Most of that occurred following some harsh remarks by Phil Mickelson, an apparent supporter of the LIV league, who has since left the spotlight, not appearing at the Masters and not playing since February. He was vilified for his statements by many, and it’s not known if he will be among the players at the first tournament.
It was at that same time as Mickelson’s comments that LIV Golf changed course, going from a full-on tour into a series of individual tournaments. That will make it more difficult for the PGA Tour to turn down requests for its members to play in an event outside of the United States.
The LIV Golf schedule has four events set for U.S. locations with one in Thailand and another in Saudi Arabia. The final stop, which will be a team championship, is believed to be going to the Trump Doral Golf Course in Miami, Fla.
Organizers of the RBC Canadian Open have stated they aren’t worried about the conflicting dates with the first LIV event. Its field is strong with defending champion Rory McIlroy, Masters winner Scottie Scheffler, past champion Dustin Johnson and a Canadian contingent that includes Corey Conners, Mackenzie Hughes and Adam Hadwin set to tee it up. The tournament will be held at St. George’s G&CC in Toronto starting the week of June 6.