THE PGA Tour have suspended Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and 15 other golf stars who are playing in the Saudi-backed LIV Golf event in London.
Six-time Major champion Mickelson,51, teed off on Thursday in the LIV Series opener in St Albans, England.
The Ryder Cup star was slammed for his decision, and was even mocked by golf Instagram favourite Paige Spiranac.
Mickelson was joined by former world No1 Dustin Johnson who announced he would be resigning from the PGA Tour on Tuesday.
Mickelson has reportedly been paid £160m to join the LIV Series, and Johnson has agreed a £100m deal to take part in the new rebel competition.
Other stars banned include European Ryder Cup heroes Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer.
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The PGA Tour branded the rival series as “vindictive” and “troubling”.
A two-page memo issued by PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said the suspended players are no longer eligible to compete in all PGA Tour events, the Presidents Cup and all tours sanctioned by the PGA Tour.
Monahan said: “(The players) did not receive the necessary conflicting event and media rights releases — or did not apply for releases at all — and their participation in the Saudi Golf League/LIV Golf event is in violation of our Tournament Regulation.
“The same fate holds true for any other players who participate in future Saudi Golf League events in violation of our Regulations.”
The 48-player LIV Golf event that began on Thursday at the Centurion Club outside London conflicts with the PGA Tour’s RBC Canadian Open.
The other players suspended by the PGA Tour are Talor Gooch, Branden Grace, Matt Jones, Kevin Na, Andy Ogletree, Louis Oosthuizen, Turk Pettit, Charl Schwartzel, Hudson Swafford and Peter Uihlein.
Those players will be removed from the FedExCup points list when the official statistics are posted Sunday night.
“These players have made their choice for their own financial-based reasons,” Monahan wrote in the memo addressed to PGA Tour members.
Phil Mickelson was the star name at the LIV Golf event in London
“But they can’t demand the same PGA Tour membership benefits, considerations, opportunities and platform as you, our fans and our partners.
“You have made a different choice, which is to abide by the Tournament Regulations you agreed to when you accomplished the dream of earning a PGA TOUR card and — more importantly — to compete as part of the preeminent organization in the world of professional golf.”
LIV Golf released an official statement on social media in response to the memo.
The statement said: “Today’s announcement by the PGA Tour is vindictive and it deepens the divide between the Tour and its members.
“It’s troubling that the Tour, an organization dedicated to creating opportunities for golfers to play the game, is the entity blocking golfers from playing.
“This certainly is not the last word on this topic.
“The era of free agency is beginning as we are proud to have a full field of players joining us in London, and beyond.”