PGA Tour reportedly threatens bans if any stars join Premier Golf League

Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson among names reported to have been approached

World No 1 Dustin Johnson is one of the players being linked with a breakaway golf tour. AFP
World No 1 Dustin Johnson is one of the players being linked with a breakaway golf tour. AFP

The PGA Tour has reportedly warned its members they will incur a suspension from the circuit and quite possibly a career ban should they join a much-publicised breakaway global tour.

Earlier this week, reports emerged that the Super Golf League, the recast Premier Golf League said to be backed financially by Saudi Arabia, had re-emerged with multi-million dollar offers to some of the game’s leading stars. World No 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No 1s Brooks Koepka and Justin Rose and five-time major champion Phil Mickelson were among the most prominent names reported to have been approached, with some outlets citing $30 million offers to join.

The Daily Telegraph reported the global tour would begin in September next year, which would almost certainly force players to leave the PGA Tour in favour of the new money-spinning circuit.

However, The Guardian reported late on Tuesday that the commissioner of the PGA Tour, Jay Monahan, had put forward forthrightly his stance on the breakaway league at a scheduled meeting with players at Quail Hollow, home of this week’s PGA Tour event, the Wells Fargo Championship. The same report claimed the European Tour would employ a similarly firm stance. The two tours, the principal circuits in professional golf, confirmed last year a shared strategic alliance to work on global media rights and commercial opportunities. The European Tour’s chief executive, Keith Pelley, had not long before said his circuit had turned down a “show-stopping offer” from the Premier Golf League (PGL).

Mooted for some time, the idea of the PGL gained serious traction early last year, with original plans comprising an 18-event schedule from January to September - 10 in the US, three in Europe, three in Asia, one each in the Middle East and Australia - featuring 48-player fields and $10m purses each week. The season would then end with a team championship, with 12 captains and players having shares in each franchise. The format was thought to include three-day tournaments with no cut.

While players were said to be intrigued by the proposal, a number of high-profile stars said publicly at the time that they would not take part, including then world No 1 Rory McIlroy.

However, the four-time major champion conceded in February last year: “I’m against it until there may come a day that I can’t be. If everyone else goes I might not have a choice.”

Updated: May 5, 2021 11:52 AM

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