World number 1043, Robert Garrigus, has reportedly become the first player on the PGA Tour to request permission to play in the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational, which takes place in June. The tournament would now allow players to participate in their events without being full members.
Garrigus submitted his request to the PGA, as is required for players who want to compete in events outside the country. The request would have to come 45 days before the event starts, and the PGA is expected to notify the player at least 30 days before the event starts.
Since turning pro in 1997, Garrigus has just one professional win, from 2010. He is one of the longest drivers in the game and also one of the few players who can hit a ball over 350 years, which is truly remarkable. His highest ranking was world number 35, in April 2013.
The 44-year-old would be playing in this week’s Zurich Classic, where he teams up with Tommy Gainey.
Greg Norman, who is the coordinator of the tournament, has said that the LIV Golf Invitational would not run as a league as earlier planned but would each event would be like an individual tournament, with players joining separately instead of committing to the whole league. The event in June is the first of eight events that were scheduled in the original league arrangement.
Both the PGA and Garrigus’s agent have declined to comment on the issue. The PGA had, months back, warned that any player who joined the Saudi league could face possible sanctions. But it is unclear if the sanctions would still apply now that players can participate in the league without being full members. Playing in the LIV Golf Invitational this year would be like playing in any other event that does not require any commitment.
It is expected that more players may follow Garrigus’s footsteps, seeing that the offer is quite attractive and it would allow low-ranked players to shine.
Written by: Leon Osamor