While Louis Oosthuizen is one of just eight South African golfers confirmed for the first event of the Saudi-funded LIV golf series starting in London on Thursday, it remains to be seen what consequences the top players will face for committing to the controversial tour.
The full list of South Africans playing this week is Branden Grace, Charl Schwartzel, Hennie du Plessis, JC Ritchie, Justin Harding, Louis Oosthuizen, Oliver Bekker and Shaun Norris.
Of course, Grace, Schwartzel and Oosthuizen stand out among the SA players as members of the PGA Tour.
Over the weekend, PGA Tour member and world number 33 Kevin Na resigned from the US PGA Tour to avoid facing sanctions over his commitment to the LIV golf series.
Na said: “If I exercise my right to choose where and when I play golf, then I cannot remain a PGA Tour player without facing disciplinary proceedings and legal action from the PGA Tour.
“I am sad to share that I have chosen to resign from the PGA Tour. This has not been an easy decision and not one taken lightly. I hope the current policies change and I’ll be able to play on the PGA Tour again.”
This development means Grace, Schwartzel and Oosthuizen could be in the same boat as Na and may have to seriously consider their future on the US PGA Tour. That’s of course if the PGA Tour does not change its stance on the LIV golf Tour, but that seems increasingly unlikely.
Last week, the PGA Tour said in a statement: “As communicated to our entire membership on May 10, PGA TOUR members have not been authorized to participate in the Saudi Golf League’s London event, under PGA TOUR Tournament Regulations,” the PGA Tour said in a statement.
“Members who violate the Tournament Regulations are subject to disciplinary action.”
In other developments last week, former world number one Dustin Johnson and 2010 US Open champion Graeme McDowell lost their sponsorship by Royal Bank of Canada over their commitment to LIV golf.
The format for the tournaments will be just three rounds (54 holes), with 48 players and no cut.
There will be both an individual event and a team event. The team event will be split into 12 groups of four golfers.
The season will feature eight events, with the final tournament being a purely matchplay team event according to seedings from the first seven events.
Each regular season event will offer a first prize of US$20m or an incredible R309m. Last place, or 48th position, will receive US$120 000 or R1,8m.
For reference the 2020/2021 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit winner — Christiaan Bezuidenhout earned R7,7m. Last place in one LIV golf event therefore would have been good enough for fifth place on the season-long Order of Merit.– IOL Sport.