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Garrigus becomes the first PGA Tour player to seek permission to play Saudi event

Robert Garrigus has become the first PGA Tour member to apply for permission to compete in a controversial tournament funded by the Saudi Arabian regime in England this summer.

Citing multiple sources, Golfweek reports that the career journeyman has requested a release from the PGA Tour to play in the LIV Golf Invitational, scheduled for June 9-11 at the Centurion Club in London.

The tournament will be worth $25m (£19.2m), $10m more than was shared out at the recent Masters, won by Scottie Scheffler earlier this month.

PGA Tour members are required to obtain a waiver to compete in events held on other circuits. Such applications must be submitted at least 45 days before the first round of the tournament, which means the deadline for players to request a green light to play at the Centurion Club tournament is Monday, April 25.

The Tour must decide on applications 30 days before the event begins, or by Tuesday, May 10.

A spokesperson for the PGA Tour declined to comment on Garrigus or on releases for the Saudi event. Likewise, Kevin Canning, the agent for Garrigus, also declined comment.

The tournament in London is the first of eight scheduled events announced by Greg Norman, who has been the public face of LIV Golf, an organisation financed by the Saudi government’s Public Investment Fund.

The lucrative tournaments involve $25 million purses with $4 million for first place and have been widely criticised as a blatant attempt by the Saudi regime to “sportswash” its human rights abuses.

It’s expected that fields for the LIV Golf events will largely be comprised of journeymen from the PGA Tour and DP World Tour (formerly the European Tour).

Norman recently admitted in his last round of publicity interviews that amateurs may also be invited to compete, and that his strategy is to make elite players jealous at seeing also-rans win enormous sums of money, hoping that envy will eventually draw top-tier talent to his events.

Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson was last week linked with the Invitational Series but quickly posted on Twitter an upcoming schedule that comprised eight PGA Tour events and a desire to qualify for both the upcoming US Open and Open Championship.

Garrigus is ranked 1,043rd in the world and has one win in 362 starts in his PGA Tour career, with victory at the 2010 Children’s Miracle Network Classic. His best finish in a major came at the 2011 U.S. Open where he finished T-3.

The 44-year-old will no doubt attract a lot of media attention when he competes at this week’s team event, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, with Tommy Gainey.

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