Paul Casey to join LIV Golf

By Sports Desk July 02, 2022

England’s Paul Casey, ranked 26th in the world, has become the latest player to join the Saudi Arabia-funded LIV Golf Invitational.

Casey has won 21 times as a professional, including three times on the PGA Tour and another 15 on the European Tour. He also represented Team Europe five times in the Ryder Cup.

A back injury has kept Casey sidelined since he took part in the WGC Match Play Championship in March. He played two holes of his opening match when he conceded due to back spasms, before withdrawing from the Masters, PGA Championship and U.S. Open.

He plans to make his LIV debut later this month at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Casey joins a growing list of players to accept PGA Tour bans and join the breakaway series, fronted by CEO Greg Norman and funded by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.

Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson are some of the marquee names that have come on board with the promise of big signing bonuses, hefty prize purses and an eased schedule.

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    Rory McIlroy considered Tuesday "a good day" for members of the PGA Tour, as he felt the attempts of LIV Golf rebels to enter the FedEx Cup had made the dispute around the breakaway series "personal".

    A judge ruled ahead of the FedEx St. Jude Championship that LIV Golf players were not eligible to compete in the play-offs.

    Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford had filed a restraining order to allow them to play this week's tournament, while 11 LIV Golf stars put together an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour.

    McIlroy, who said he was following the proceedings live on Tuesday, was delighted the trio had not been granted access after abandoning the Tour for the lucrative new Saudi-backed league.

    "From my vantage point, common sense prevailed, and I thought it was the right decision," McIlroy said.

    "And now that that has happened, I think it just lets us focus on the important stuff, which is the golf, and we can all move forward and not have that sideshow going on for the next few weeks, which is nice."

    The four-time major winner, who finished third as Cameron Smith – reported to be the next LIV Golf signing – won The Open last month, was asked if the struggle between players on either tour had become "personal".

    "Yeah – and it was when that lawsuit was filed last week or whenever it was," McIlroy replied.

    "The thing that I would say [is that] I certainly have a little more respect for the guys that haven't put their names to the suit. Yeah, it's become a little more personal because of that."

    And while delighted with the outcome on Tuesday, McIlroy knows there will be plenty more battles ahead.

    Explaining his outlook, the Northern Irishman said: "Guys are going to make their own decisions that they feel is best for them, and that's totally fine.

    "I don't begrudge anyone for going over to play LIV or taking guaranteed money. If that's your prerogative and what you want to do, totally fine.

    "But I think where the resentment comes from, from the membership of this tour, is the fact that they want to try to get their way back in here with no consequences.

    "Anyone that's read that PGA Tour handbook or abided by the rules and regulations, that would feel very unfair to them.

    "That's sort of how it played out, and I think everyone that has abided by the rules was... There's such a long way to go – it's like you've birdied the first hole, but you've still got 17 holes to go – but it was a good day for the Tour and for the majority of the membership yesterday."

    McIlroy has been prominent in his opposition to LIV Golf, and he revealed on Wednesday he had received an offer from the Premier Golf League, but not from the latest threat to the PGA Tour.

    The 33-year-old was therefore asked if he enjoyed his role as an unofficial spokesperson for the PGA Tour.

    "Not really," McIlroy replied, but he does feel his game has somehow benefited from his being at the centre of a storm when off the course.

    "I don't feel like it's my job to be up here and stick up for the Tour or be a spokesperson," he said.

    "It's just sort of the role that I've found myself in, especially coming on the PGA Tour [policy] board this year. It was a great time to agree to do that...

    "I've said this to a few people: I feel when I then get myself inside the ropes, it's like no one can get to me, and it's really nice.

    "So, it's actually made the golf part of it way more enjoyable. And I sort of appreciate it a little bit more, because of all the other stuff that's going on.

    "If anything, it's probably helped my golf, just because I can get out there and I can not think about it and compartmentalise everything and maybe enjoy competing a little bit more – or at least appreciate it a little bit more with everything else that's going on."

  • Cameron Smith promises clarity on future, but LIV Golf rumours intensify Cameron Smith promises clarity on future, but LIV Golf rumours intensify

    Cameron Smith has vowed he will come forward when he has any announcement to make on his future, although the world number two is reported to have already agreed to join the LIV Golf Invitational Series.

    Smith is the Open champion and would represent another major coup for the breakaway golf league.

    Fellow Australian Cameron Percy indicated Smith would be joining LIV Golf this week, telling RSN Radio that the 28-year-old and Marc Leishman were "gone".

    Smith subsequently responded to these claims in a news conference ahead of the FedEx St. Jude Championship on Tuesday.

    "My goal here is to win the FedEx Cup play-offs," he said. "That's all I'm here for.

    "If there's something I need to say regarding the PGA Tour or LIV, it will come from Cameron Smith, not Cameron Percy.

    "I'm a man of my word, and whenever you guys need to know anything, it will be said by me.

    "Like I said, I'm here to play the FedEx Cup play-offs. That's been my focus the last week and a half, that's what I'm here to do. I'm here to win the FedEx Cup play-offs."

    However, Wednesday brought an exclusive report from The Telegraph claiming Smith had signed a $100million-plus deal with LIV Golf.

    The report says an initial offer of around $100m was made to Smith ahead of The Open, but he is set to be boosted by his new status as a major winner.

    An announcement, The Telegraph said, would likely follow the FedEx Cup play-offs, with Smith second in the standings.

  • Judge denies LIV Golf signees entry into the FedEx Cup Judge denies LIV Golf signees entry into the FedEx Cup

    The PGA Tour has won their first legal battle against the controversial LIV Golf brand, with a judge ruling on Tuesday that LIV Golf players are not eligible to play in the FedEx Cup starting this week.

    Specifically, Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford were the three golfers seeking the temporary restraining order to play at the FedEx St. Jude Championship – but a judge ruled that their cases did not prove they were victims of "irreparable harm" due to their highly paid contracts.

    The LIV Golf lawyers argued that the FedEx Cup is about "more than money" – even going as far as calling it "the Super Bowl of golf", and comparing former FedEx Cup winners to all-time greats Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman.

    They claimed the PGA Tour was attempting to use monopoly powers to stamp out fair competition, to which the PGA lawyers countered with the facts that five of their top-10 most famous players – based on their Player Impact Program – have already jumped ship, and that Gooch, specifically, signed a contract worth significantly more than the $18million awarded to the winner of the FedEx Cup.

    LIV Golf were queried about how they could project a 20 per cent market share while also calling the PGA Tour a monopoly, and that being a monopoly is not illegal, only using monopoly powers against another organisation is.

    The judge explained that the breakaway golfers would have ample opportunity to play on the alternate tour; that their upfront LIV Golf contracts took into account the possibility that they would not be eligible for the FedEx Cup and/or major championships; and that the inability to win even more money does not constitute "irreparable harm".

    Some other interesting tidbits were revealed during proceedings, including a direct contradiction from a prevalent storyline about the LIV Golf contracts.

    LIV Golf lawyers claimed that prize money won from tournaments would be "recouped against the LIV contracts" – with a clip emerging immediately afterwards showing an LIV Golf spokesperson specifically saying during a news conference featuring Pat Perez and Brooks Koepka that all prize money would be "in addition to the contracts".

    Their lawyers also confirmed that all 48 spots had been filled for next LIV Golf season, and the judge indicated that the larger-scale antitrust trial would be tentatively scheduled for September.

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