The PGA Tour and European Tour are “aligned in opposing” renewed plans for a Super Golf League, with players who sign up facing suspension from the Tour.
World No 1 Dustin Johnson heads the latest list of targets for the Saudi-backed proposal, initially referred to as the Premier Golf League, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph earlier this week.
Johnson and Justin Rose are among the high-profile players believed to have been offered huge financial incentives to join the breakaway SGL, a move which could result in their exclusion from the regular Tours.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan addressed players ahead of this week’s Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow, with Golf Channel sources reporting that any professionals who join the SGL “will face immediate suspension and likely permanent expulsion from the Tour”.
Monahan has yet to release any official statement regarding the prospect of a new competition amid rumours that several Florida-based players have been approached by SGL officials over the last few weeks.
But European Tour chief executive, Keith Pelley, has issued a statement condemning the apparent plans, while also revealing that the main investors behind the SGL had made “a very compelling offer” to take over the European Tour.
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“We are aligned with the PGA Tour in opposing, in the strongest possible terms, any proposal for an alternative golf league,” Pelley’s statement read.
“Since the launch of our strategic alliance last November, our two organisations have been working together to make global golf less fractured and not create further division, with the interests of all players and fans at the forefront of our thinking.”
Plans for a Premier Golf League gathered pace early last year, but star draw Rory McIlroy, who was world No 1 at the time, declared that he would not be interested in joining the competition.
McIlroy was initially sceptical when first asked about the proposals during the Farmers Insurance Open, when he also admitted he had first been approached to discuss a “breakaway” tour towards the end of the 2014 season.
“The more I’ve thought about it, the more I don’t like it,” said McIlroy in February. “I read a thing the other day where it said if you take the money they can tell you what to do, so if you don’t take the money, they can’t tell you what to do. And I think that’s my thing, I’ve never been one for being told what to do, and I like to have that autonomy and freedom over my career, and I feel like I would give that up by going to play this other league.
“For me, I’m out. My position is I’m against it until there may come a day that I can’t be against it. If everyone else goes, I might not have a choice, but at this point, yeah, I don’t like what they’re proposing.”
The PGL plans were apparently put on hold when sport was shut down by the coronavirus pandemic, but the renewed reports of a “Super” league are set to dominate discussion at Quail Hollow this week.
Former US Open champion Webb Simpson was the first player to be quizzed by the media on the alleged SGL plans, and he described the proposals as “pretty far-fetched”.
“It’s been an interesting couple of years with this other league,” said Simpson. “I don’t really get into the details at all, I let my agent handle everything, but from the beginning it seemed like something that seems pretty far-fetched to actually happen, to come in and shake up the way golf has always been.
“So I don’t have any up-to-date information, I guess, as to how it’s progressed in the last couple of months. I haven’t talked really about it since The Players Championship. I love the PGA Tour. It’s given me an incredible opportunity these last 12 years of my life.
“It’s hard for me to believe that it’s really going to happen and the guys will really jump ship and go to a completely different way of golf than we’ve always had.”
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