Fowler yet to make up mind over LIV Golf ahead of PGA Championship

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May 16, 2022; Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA; Rickie Fowler gets his ball from his caddie on the 3rd green during a practice round for the PGA Championship golf tournament at Southern Hills Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

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May 16 (Reuters) - American Rickie Fowler on Monday said he has not yet made up his mind about taking part in the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series, days before he renews his bid for a maiden PGA Championship title at Southern Hills Country Club.

Top golfers have descended on Tulsa, Oklahoma, ahead of the competition amid controversy over the upstart LIV Golf, which is aiming to challenge the PGA Tour.

Last week, PGA Tour denied event releases for members who sought to play at LIV Golf's inaugural event taking place outside British capital London on June 9-11, saying participation would conflict with the RBC Canadian Open. read more

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Five-times PGA Tour winner Fowler said he was approached by the LIV Tour but has not "made a decision one way or another".

"I've mentioned in the past, do I currently think that the PGA Tour is the best place to play? I do. Do I think it can be better? Yes," said Fowler.

He said he wanted greater clarity regarding whether "you're an independent contractor or are you basically an employee" on the PGA Tour and wanted to know the consequences for playing at the London event without a release.

"I'm sure there will be some sort of consequences but I really don't know at this time. It's almost kind of have to wait and see, and see what happens," Fowler said.

Last week, Hall of Famer Greg Norman, who serves as chief executive of LIV Golf, referred to the 2018 killing of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a "mistake", drawing criticism including from Khashoggi's fiancee. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has said the killing had been ordered at the "highest levels" of the Saudi government. read more

The PGA Championship is carrying on without its defending champion, Phil Mickelson, who stepped away from the game in February after comments he made indicating he could look past Saudi Arabia's human right record. read more

The Saudi government has denied accusations of human rights abuses and Mickelson has since apologised.

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Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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