Kevin Na becomes first golfer to resign from PGA Tour for rival LIV series

·2 min read

The rivalry between the PGA Tour and the new LIV Golf Series took another turn Saturday when 19-year PGA veteran Kevin Na announced his resignation from the tour to join the new league.

Na, 38, wrote on Twitter that he chose to leave the PGA because of "recent developments in the professional golf world" and because he wanted "the freedom to play where I want."

"For 19 years, I've played on the PGA Tour and I have loved every minute of it. I appreciate the platform the tour has provided me to play the game that I love and for the opportunities that have come with it. Recent developments in the professional golf world have given me a chance to reconsider my options. I would like the freedom to play where I want and exercising my right as a free agent gives me that opportunity. However to remain a PGA Tour player, I must give up my right to make these choices about my career. If I exercise my right to choose where and when I play golf, then I cannot remain a PGA Tour player without facing disciplinary proceedings and legal action from the PGA Tour."

"I am sad to share that I have chosen to resign from the PGA Tour. This has not been an easy decision and not one I take lightly. I hope the current policies change and I'll be able to play on the PGA Tour again."

In his statement, Na is referring to the growing rift between PGA commissioner Jay Monahan and the golfers who decided to play in the new Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series. The PGA threatened disciplinary action against golfers who chose the new LIV Golf Series and Monahan already denied exceptions for players looking to compete in both LIV and the PGA.

Na, who earned around $38 million during his career on the tour, isn't the only PGA golfer who will be competing in the LIV. Dustin Johnson was reportedly paid $150 million to participate, and others such as 2017 Masters winner Sergio Garcia, Talor Gooch, Branden Grace, Martin Kaymer, Chase Koepka, Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen, Ian Poulter, Hudson Swafford and Lee Westwood also joined the initial field. Phil Mickelson is also a rumored participant after he withdrew from the PGA Championship in May.

The first LIV Golf Invitational is set to take place on June 9 at the Centurion Club in London and will reportedly include luxurious amenities for its competitors and a total prize purse of $25 million.

"For now, please keep an eye out for LIV Golf," Na added. "It is an exciting new product and I hope you will enjoy the buzz it brings to golf. I am thrilled to begin the next chapter in my career, starting next week at the inaugural LIV Invitational series event in London. I hope you'll continue to support me."