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Sunday, June 16, 2024

PGA Tour Member Could Be First Heading To Rival Saudi League

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Garrigus could be the first PGA Tour member to play in the controversial Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational — if he’s approved.

Garrigus, who has one PGA Tour win under his belt, has reportedly requested a release from the organization to play in the London tournament, a requirement for all overseas competitions. More golfers are expected to do the same, but as of Tuesday, Garrigus was the only player who has.

Players must request the release at least 45 days before the first round, and the Tour is required to make a decision at least 30 days prior to the event.

  • The LIV Golf Invitational is scheduled for June 9-11. 
  • Players are required to submit requests by April 25, and the Tour must decide by May 10.  

LIV Golf, an organization backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, has announced seven other events this year. Each of the eight tournaments will offer $25 million purses, with the winner receiving $4 million.

Since his last top-10 finish in 2018, Garrigus has reportedly earned around $320,000, with total PGA Tour earnings reaching $14.9 million.

Still Controversial

Saudi Arabia has been in hot water for alleged human rights abuses including unlawful killings, forced disappearances, torture, arbitrary arrest, and more. Some have accused the country of “sportswashing,” or using sports to distract from such abuses.

The country’s sovereign wealth fund previously tried to launch a rival tour, but top players refused to join, leading it to focus on independent tournaments instead.

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