The PGA Tour kicked off its first tournament of the season, and within 100 days, the golf ball will be at Oak Hill Country Club, which will start with its first round on May 18.
While there are many surprises ahead of the tournament, one issue remains the same, about the LIV Golf. Ever since the Saudi-backed series came into existence, several top-rated golfers have joined it.
The list includes Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Sergio Garcia, Cameron Smith, and Lee Westwood.
The first tournament of the series concluded in October with Dustin Johnson clinching the trophy along with prize money totaling more than $33 million.
But the success comes at a price, as LIV golfers are deprived of playing on the PGA Tour. Luckily, they had received an invitation from the Masters, and now fans wonder if they will play at Oak Hills.
Speaking about the LIV Golf, PGA Championship Director Bryan Karns said:
“There’s still a lot up in the air on that front", before adding, "In a lot of ways I’m just the biggest cheerleader for this community because it makes things so easy. Obviously there’s lots of little things to work out … but I think as far as the championship, it’s in incredible shape," said Bryan Karns.
No one is getting along as the lawsuits are hitting the headlines more often than the tee shots. It is pertinent to note that the DP World Tour lawsuit is scheduled for a hearing later this month.
'Jeopardize their participation in future PGA Championships' - Seth Waugh about LIV golfers
Since the inception of LIV Golf, the CEO of PGA America, Seth Waugh, believes that players switching to LIV could jeopardize their participation in future PGA Championships.”
"We’re a fan of the current ecosystem and world golf ranking system and everything else that goes into creating the best field in golf. We don’t think this is good for the game and we are supportive of that ecosystem. We have our own bylaws that we will follow towards those fields.”
The decision on the LIV golfers will take time. As Karns said:
“There’s a lot going on behind the scenes to sort of evaluate this. Probably late spring, prior to the championship, maybe in the last 30 days, there’ll be some sort of announcement about what that looks like.”
"When you think about events now, there’s always talk about purses and elevated events, and everybody’s trying to kind of solve that. But at the end of the day, these guys want to play the best courses, they want to play for the biggest trophies, the stuff that really elevates their legacy and they want to do it at venues that really matter. A PGA Championship at Oak Hill checks both of those boxes.”
While most LIV Golf players will miss the tournament, it is possible that Oak Hill will be graced by Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele, Will Zalatoris, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and probably Tiger Woods.