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PGA Tour suspends players as new Saudi-backed LIV Golf series tees off – a timeline of golf’s big split

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A general view of a sign in the fan village during day one of the LIV Golf Invitational at The Centurion Club in St Albans, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

A general view of a sign in the fan village during day one of the LIV Golf Invitational at The Centurion Club in St Albans, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

A general view of a sign in the fan village during day one of the LIV Golf Invitational at The Centurion Club in St Albans, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

The PGA Tour has announced in a memo to all members that players competing in the first LIV Golf Invitational Series tournament at Centurion Club were being suspended.

Here, we look at a timeline of key events in the launch of the new Saudi Arabia backed league.

October 29, 2021 - Former world number one Greg Norman is named the CEO of LIV Golf Investments, a newly-formed company funded by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.

November 3 - Norman insists LIV Golf's plans for a new 10-tournament series on the Asian Tour from 2022 are not intended as revenge against the PGA Tour after it rejected his bid to establish a World Golf Tour in 1994.

February 17, 2022 - Phil Mickelson's motives for potentially joining the breakaway are laid bare in an extract from a new biography of the six-time major winner. Mickelson described the Saudis as "scary" to deal with and admitted he was aware of their "horrible record on human rights", but was happy to use them to attempt to "reshape" how the PGA Tour operates.

February 20 - Rory McIlroy declares the potential breakaway as "dead in the water" after Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau committed their futures to the PGA Tour.

February 22 - Mickelson apologises for his "reckless" comments and says he will be taking time away from golf.

February 24 - Norman writes an open letter to PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, accusing him of "bullying" players with "unenforceable" threats of a lifetime ban if they join a rival league.

March 16 - LIV Golf releases details of seven 48-man, 54-hole invitational events, each with a team and individual competition and a prize fund of 25million US dollars.

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May 4 - Lee Westwood, who had previously signed a non-disclosure agreement, reveals he has requested a release to play the first LIV Golf Invitational Series event at Centurion Club.

May 10 - The PGA Tour refuses to grant releases to players.

May 11 - Norman pledges to "defend, reimburse and represent" any players sanctioned for playing the LIV events without permission.

May 17 - Tiger Woods says he has a "lot of disagreement" with Mickelson's views on the PGA Tour and stresses: "I believe in legacies. I believe in major championships. I believe in big events, comparisons to historical figures of the past. There's plenty of money out here."

June 1 - Dustin Johnson announces he will compete at Centurion.

June 6 - Mickelson also announces he will be part of the 48-man field in Hertfordshire.

June 7 - Mickelson admits he is embarrassed by details of his "reckless" gambling being known, but insists his decision to join LIV Golf has nothing to do with financial difficulties. Johnson reveals he has resigned from the PGA Tour.

June 8 - Mickelson refuses to confirm or deny he has served, or is serving, a ban from the PGA Tour.

June 9 - Just some 30 minutes after play got under way at Centurion, the PGA Tour sent a memo to all members informing them that the players competing in the opening LIV event were being suspended for "violation of our Tournament Regulations", adding "the same fate holds true" for any others who decided to play in future Saudi Golf League tournaments. LIV Golf issue a swift reply against a "vindictive" decision which it claims "deepens the divide between the Tour and its members", adding "this certainly is not the last word on this topic".


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