The 150th (British) Open begins today, but the rebel LIV Golf Invitational series is still the talk of the pro golf touring scene around the world. It’s the most disruptive thing that has ever happened in professional golf. Here’s an update on what’s happening on that so far.
The US Department of Justice is currently reviewing the status of the PGA Tour due to the LIV Golf challenge. It will examine the tax status of the Tour and whether it is a monopoly. LIV Golf manager Greg Norman has claimed as much for years. However, justice looked at this in the 1990s and said otherwise. The two Tour player pension funds could also be reconsidered. This may all have to do with whether or not PGA Tour members are truly independent contractors, as they have been treated in the past. But the Tour being an association, in which its members adhere freely and subscribe to its rules, no doubt it will also be taken into consideration.
The R&A produces The Open (formerly British Open). The Royal and Ancient Golf Club (R&A) and the United States Golf Association (USGA) oversee the rules of golf for the sport worldwide. They are therefore responsible for determining the rules of the game and publishing the book of rules of golf.
The USGA produces the US Open golf tournament. The PGA America, to be distinguished from the PGA Tour, produces the PGA Championship. The Masters Tournament is produced and hosted by Augusta National Golf Club. These four tournaments are recognized as “the four major tournaments” of golf. Whatever the authorities representing these four entities have to say about LIV Golf will have a profound effect on it and other professional golf tours around the world in the future.
Another important entity to consider is the Official World Golf Ranking System (OWGR). As its name suggests, the OWGR ranks professional golfers from around the world. Several members of the R&A, USGA, PGA of America, and possibly the Masters serve on the OWGR Board of Directors. The four majors have their own qualification systems that define how their tournament fields are determined each year. For example, one category of qualification for the R&A in its determination of Open field is that the top fifty in the OWGR on a certain date are qualified to compete in the Open that year.
What has been the response to LIV Golf by the four entities that control the four professional golf majors? The PGA Tour vehemently opposed it and suspended fifteen of its members for playing the first LIV Golf event, held in London in June. The DP World Tour has taken even more drastic measures, temporarily banning several of its members from participating in its tournaments for participating in this first LIV Golf event and fining some of these players $100,000 for taking it. do. But some LIV Golf players who are members of DP World Tour have obtained a court injunction against DP World Tour, temporarily overturning its ban against these players.
Martin Slumbers, CEO of the R&A, said yesterday that LIV Golf “is not in the best long-term interest of the sport”. He didn’t elaborate, except to say he’s “all money driven.” He then announced, “We will be reviewing our exemption and qualification criteria for the Open,” indicating that they will likely come into effect next year.
The PGA of America has indicated its contempt for LIV Golf, but has so far made no decision on it as it relates to the PGA Championship.
Augusta National has so far remained silent on LIV Golf.