Georgia Tech’s Andy Ogletree playing in upstart golf league

Former Georgia Tech All-American Andy Ogletree will play in the first tournament staged by LIV Golf. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / curtis.compton@

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Former Georgia Tech All-American Andy Ogletree will play in the first tournament staged by LIV Golf. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / curtis.compton@

Former Georgia Tech All-American and U.S. Amateur champion Andy Ogletree will play in the first tournament staged by LIV Golf, a decision that could complicate his chances to play on the PGA Tour. Ogletree’s name was on a list of 42 players, most notably two-time major champion Dustin Johnson, who have committed to play in the first LIV Golf event that was released Tuesday.

The series has been perceived as a competitive threat to the PGA Tour, which has denied releases to its members to play in the event. The tour typically grants releases for players to participate in non-tour events on a limited basis. However, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan reportedly issued threats of suspensions or bans for any tour member who joined the LIV Golf circuit, which has five events scheduled to take place in the U.S. this year. As Ogletree is not a PGA Tour member, it’s unclear how his participation in LIV Golf would impact him.

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The purses that LIV Golf is offering have made it a tempting option. The initial event, to be played June 9-11 outside London, will have a purse of $25 million for the 48 entrants. The winner will receive $4 million, and the last-place finisher in the no-cut event will take home $120,000. There also is a team competition within the tournament, with $5 million of the purse going to the top three teams.

Besides Johnson, notable stars such as Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter were among the players announced Tuesday as part of the initial field.

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Ogletree, who won the 2019 U.S. Amateur championship while at Tech, turned professional in November 2020 (after he was low amateur at the Masters, an appearance earned from his U.S. Amateur victory) and has been beset by injuries and poor results. He played in four PGA Tour events early in the 2020-21 season as a professional, making the cut once, and then had hip surgery in April 2021, rendering him unable to compete for several months. Since then, he has played in events on a limited basis, including a regional tour event in February in Daytona Beach, Fla., where the purse was $83,365.

LIV Golf also has drawn criticism because it receives heavy funding from the Saudi Arabian regime, which has been found to have committed a series of human-rights violations. That connection was responsible for perhaps the most attention that the fledgling league has received. In February, comments from Phil Mickelson became public explaining his willingness to consider playing in the proposed league despite Saudi Arabia’s human-rights record (which he described as “horrible”) because of the leverage it would provide players to procure more benefits and concessions from the PGA Tour.

Mickelson became the target of immediate criticism, losing longtime sponsors, and has not played on the tour since. He skipped the Masters in April and did not defend his PGA Championship last month.

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