Reports: Top-100 stars on brink of Saudi switch

Greg Norman Liv

More than a dozen of the world’s best players are on the verge of signing up for the controversial Saudi-backed breakaway league.

According to Bob Harig in Sports Illustrated, 15 of the world’s top 100 players have requested permission to play in the first LIV Invitational Series event at the Centurion Club near London in June.

Since confidentiality agreements have been signed, the organisation is not releasing the names of those who have applied for releases.

However, Telegraph golf correspondent James Corrigan reported major winners Sergio Garcia and Louis Oosthuizen are among their number.

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PGA Tour players have until 10pm UK time on Monday to submit their applications – but it is believed the event, which has a maximum field of 48, is already oversubscribed, with around 70 applicants.

That means LIV chief executive Greg Norman may have some tough calls to make when it comes to who is in and who is not.

PGA Tour chief executive Jay Monahan is thought to be likely to grant permission because the tournament is technically not part of a new tour at this stage, but DP World Tour boss Keith Pelley is said to be taking a more hardline approach.

Both men previously warned players they risked lifetime bans from the tours and the Ryder Cup if they signed up to the breakaway venture. Pelley last week claimed the European circuit’s future would be placed in jeopardy as a result of the new league.

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With its $25 million purse, the Centurion event will become the richest in golf history when it is held this summer.

It has attracted interest from players despite many top stars distancing themselves from it in light of controversial comments made by Phil Mickelson.

The prospect is believed to have proved particularly enticing to veterans, with Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood among those most openly courted by Norman.

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