Rory McIlroy was among the commenters as Kevin Na stunned the golf world, while an old foe couldn't resist the opportunity to have a dig. George Cooper reports
Kevin Na stunned the golfing world at the weekend when he announced he will be resigning from the PGA Tour after 19 years on the circuit.
The resignation came just days after the 38-year-old was confirmed as one of the 42 players who will be competing in the LIV Golf Invitational opener next weekend. Those participating in the first event at Centurion risk losing their membership on both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, leading Na to post on Twitter that he will be exercising his right to play golf wherever he wants by quitting the PGA Tour.
“To remain a PGA Tour player, I must give up my right to make these choices about my career,” Na wrote. “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.”
While Na’s decision to play in the LIV Golf opener is hardly a surprise – the American has long been linked to the breakaway league due to his sponsorship ties with Golf Saudi – the resignation itself came as stunning news, with Na understood to be the first player in history to publicly resign from the PGA Tour.
The announcement sent shockwaves across the golfing world, with the likes of Rory McIlroy, Joel Dahmen and Billy Horschel all left bewildered by Na’s decision.
“There must be something in there that he thought this is the best thing for him, to resign,” Horschel told Fox News. “Did he resign because he didn’t want to go down the legal route? If the legal route leads to something like a ban from the PGA Tour, I don’t think the tour can pull our pension … or whatever.”
McIlroy also believes that Na is possibly “protecting himself down the road” from a “legal issue”, but added he doesn’t “understand the decision at this point.”
Dahmen expressed equal surprise at the resignation. “I would think the Tour has been pretty good to him over 19-20 years in his career,” he told Golf Digest. “I don’t understand how you resign. That’s a bold statement. What if the LIV folds in a year? Can he resign his resignment? I don’t know. Do whatever you want, but I don’t think you have to resign from the Tour to do this.”
Another Tour pro was less than forgiving when it came to the news. Grayson Murray has previous history with Na when it comes to feuding on Twitter, and once again took to the app to poke a departing jibe at his rival…
Murray later apologised to Na claiming he didn’t “want to be a bully”, and that he would “be doing the exact same thing” if he was him. Only time will tell if any more players signed up to the LIV Golf Invitational follow Na’s lead in resigning from their respective tours as the rebel series gets underway.