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The likely reason why some LIV players are resigning their PGA Tour membership and Mickelson has not

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Despite CEO of LIV Golf Greg Norman saying that it was unnecessary, most of the golfers who have decided to join LIV have resigned their PGA Tour membership.

Kevin Na was the first to publicly announce his resignation from the PGA Tour, to which Norman told the Associated Press:

“I’m a bit surprised, actually. The players don’t have to resign from the Tour. That was Kevin’s decision for whatever reason he wanted to make it. I respect the man for making a bold decision. I respect the person for wanting to come on board with us, because he knows he has a great opportunity with LIV.”

“I’ll applaud him for it, but he didn’t have to, from our behalf, because LIV would be there (for him). Like I’ve always said, we’re going to back up the players. I’ll back up the players as much as I need to, to give them their rights to be able to do whatever they want to do as independent contractors.”

Na’s reasoning for resigning is seemingly to avoid any disciplinary action from the PGA Tour.

In the statement he made on Saturday, the 38-year-old used the words “rather than face potential discipline and/or legal action.” He also stated that he “wanted the ‘freedom to play wherever I want and exercising my right as a free agent gives me that opportunity.’”

In regard to Na’s resignation, Golf Digest’s Dan Rapaport said: “Word on the street is Kevin Na will keep his PGA Tour pension despite leaving for LIV. By “resigning” he takes away the possibility of punishment; basically a retirement from the tour, so normal that he’s still entitled to his post-career benefits. Strategic decision.”

Yesterday, more players resigned from the PGA Tour including Sergio Garcia, Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace, Charl Schwartzel and Graeme McDowell.

It’s likely that these players have the same reason for resigning from the PGA Tour as Na does, with the best way to avoid punishment from the PGA Tour seemingly to be by no longer being a member of the PGA Tour.

In another bombshell today, former world number one Dustin Johnson also resigned from the PGA Tour.

“It’s hard to speak on what the consequences might be but I’ve resigned my membership of the Tour and that’s the plan for now,'” Johnson said at his pre-tournament press conference at the Centurion Club, while outlining his intention to compete at golf’s four majors, which could be the primary motivator for DJ’s resignation.

Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch speculated that players giving up their Tour card was likely the best way to ensure that they can compete in the majors “That in turn removes the most likely basis on which the USGA might have prevented them playing the U.S. Open this month.”

While the majority of the golfers making the switch to LIV are resigning their Tour cards, there’s one who is adamant about keeping his: Phil Mickelson, who outlined his reason why to Sports Illustrated’s Bob Harig:

“I have not resigned my membership. I worked really hard to earn that lifetime membership. And I’m hopeful that I’ll have the ability to play wherever I want, where it’s the PGA Tour, LIV or wherever else I want.’’

Eamon Lynch also laid out the case for why Mickelson may be attempting to hold on to his Tour card, telling Golf Channel:

“This relationship with the USGA has always been combative, it’s a hostile relationship, and I probably think that he knows that the USGA would not necessarily be that keen on seeing Phil here. They don’t want the circus of what’s going to go on around it, and I think Phil would probably enjoy bringing that circus, and he’s also putting himself out there as the potential plaintiff in chief for the Saudis here. As to settle the question of what the status of LIV players will be in the majors.”

Should the PGA Tour discipline Mickelson the situation may well end up as a court case that could determine plenty.

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19th Hole

Report: Greg Norman spotted following a surprise grouping on Thursday at the Masters

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Greg Norman is at this week’s Masters tournament but found himself in a situation where he had to buy himself a ticket to enter the grounds.

Speaking to the Washington Post, Norman explained why he was at Augusta National:

“I’m here because we have 13 players that won 10 Masters between them. So I’m here just to support them, do the best I can to show them, ‘Hey, you know, the boss is here rooting for you.’ ”

So who was Norman following during the opening round of this year’s Masters? Well the answer may surprise you.

Per Sports Illustrated’s Bob Harig, Norman was spotted following the LIV-less grouping of Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler and Xander Schauffele.

We’ll find out a little later today whether Norman will make his third appearance in as many days at this year’s opening major.

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19th Hole

Collin Morikawa makes surprising late putter switch at Masters

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Collin Morikawa has had plenty of success with a blade in his hands over the course of his young career, but after a lean spell on the greens lately, it appears that the 27-year-old is ready to try something new.

The California-native began the year with his TaylorMade TP Soto before switching to a Logan Olson proto last month. Now at this week’s Masters, Morikawa has been spotted with a Spider Tour X, the same flatstick that Scottie Scheffler will be using at Augusta.

The move would represent a big change, but it has been a very frustrating year on the greens for Morikawa, who will hope the TaylorMade mallet can offer him a similar upturn in fortune to that of Scheffler. In 2024, Morikawa ranks 164th for Strokes Gained: Putting, and 157th for Total Putting.

We’ll keep an eye whether Morikawa puts the mallet into action on day one of the Masters.

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19th Hole

Dave Portnoy places monstrous outright bet for the 2024 Masters

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Fresh off of winning $2.76 million on UConn’s victory over Purdue on Monday night, Barstool Sports’ founder Dave Portnoy has just placed a massive bet for this year’s Masters.

Tweeting on Wednesday morning, Portnoy revealed that he has placed $300,000 on Scottie Scheffler to win this year’s Masters at odds of +450.

Should he win, that’d be a total payout of $1.65 million.

Scheffler is one of the shortest priced favorites of recent times at the Masters, and is looking for what would be his third win in his last four events.

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