The European tour has banned golfers who are competing in the Saudi-backed breakaway LIV series from three upcoming tournaments, including the Scottish Open, and fined them $120,000.
The tour said any players who took part in the inaugural LIV event in England this month would be suspended from the Scottish Open, Barbasol Championship, and Barracuda Championship. All three of those events are co-sanctioned by the European tour and the PGA, which has suspended players who competed in LIV. They were also fined.
There could be “further sanctions” if the players continue to compete in LIV events without authorization, the European tour said. The next of eight LIV events is in Portland, Ore., June 30-July 2.
The fine levied by the European tour is barely more than the minimum prize money in LIV. Placing last of the 48 players paid out $120,000 in the inaugural event at the Centurion course near London — the richest golf tournament in history. Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, who resigned his PGA Tour membership, raked in $4 million for winning the event and another $750,000 for being on the winning team.
“Many members I have spoken to in recent weeks expressed the viewpoint that those who have chosen this route have not only disrespected them and our Tour, but also the meritocratic ecosystem of professional golf that has been the bedrock of our game for the past half a century and which will also be the foundation upon which we build the next 50 years," European tour chief executive Keith Pelley said.
“Their actions are not fair to the majority of our membership and undermine the Tour, which is why we are taking the action we have announced today.”
Money from the fines will be split between charitable causes and topping-up prize money, the tour said.
The Scottish Open starts July 7 and has a total prize fund of $8 million. The Barbasol Championship the same week in Kentucky and the Barracuda Championship the following week in California each offer a total $3.7 million.
Four-time major winner Brooks Koepka was announced on the entry list for the Scottish Open earlier this month before he opted to join the LIV series, though he has yet to compete in the Saudi-funded events.
The European tour’s announcement came while some players signed to LIV were playing in one of its own events. Some of the European tour’s best-known players were on course Friday at the BMW International Open, including major winners Louis Oosthuizen, Sergio Garcia, and Martin Kaymer. They all played the inaugural LIV event in England.