Greg Norman Saudi golf league gets first player as Robert Garrigus joins

Greg Norman has reportedly landed his first punch in a $3b fight that is pitting his breakaway golf league against the traditional powers.

The controversial Saudi Arabian-backed golf league apparently has its first official commitment from a PGA Tour player.

According to Golfweek, 44-year-old one-time winner Robert Garrigus has requested a release from the PGA Tour to play in the LIV Golf Invitational, from June 9-11 at the Centurion Club outside London.

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The New York Post reports members of the PGA Tour are required to obtain a waiver to play in tournaments held on other tours the same week as a PGA Tour event. the PGA Tour’s RBC Canadian Open is also scheduled for that week.

According to the report, Garrigus is the only player so far to have filed for one — but he may not be the last.

The Golfweek report cited sources who said other players are expected to do the same.

Last week, The Telegraph reported that Bubba Watson, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Kevin Na were among the names the league and its CEO and commissioner, Aussie legend Greg Norman, were preparing to announce in the weeks ahead. Na later said he has yet to sign anything.

Norman reportedly has a $3 billion war chest at his disposal and has remained defiant in his desire to push ahead with the breakaway league, despite criticism from some players and so far — apart from Garrigus — a reluctance of top stars to commit.

In February, Rory McIlroy said: “Who’s left? Who’s left to go? I mean, there’s no one. It’s dead in the water in my opinion. Yeah, I just can’t see any reason why anyone would go.”

A conflicting event release must be submitted to the PGA Tour at least 45 days before the first round of a tournament. The PGA Tour also must decide on such applications 30 days before an event begins.

Earlier this year, the tour allowed such a release for players who competed in the Asian Tour’s Saudi International, which was held the same week as the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, though the organisation did so with certain conditions attached.

Fields for the Saudi Arabian-backed league, which has eight tournaments on its schedule, including one at Trump National, are expected to mostly be made up of journeymen from the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour, per Golfweek.

The league has been bashed by many as an attempt by Saudi Arabia to sportswash its human rights abuses.

Garrigus’ lone victory on the PGA Tour came in 2010, at the now-defunct Children’s Miracle Network Classic in Orlando. In 2019, he made headlines again when the tour suspended him for three months after he’d tested positive for marijuana.

Garrigus last played on the PGA Tour full-time in 2018.

This article first appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission

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