DP World Tour refuses to back down after LIV Golf Series players threaten legal action unless sanctions are rescinded | Golf News

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Players have sent an open letter to DP World Tour

Players have sent an open letter to DP World Tour

The DP World Tour has issued a statement defending “proportionate, fair and necessary” sanctions imposed against LIV rebels after 16 players threatened legal action unless they were rescinded. 

DP World Tour members, including Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood, were each fined £100,000 and banned from next week’s Genesis Scottish Open and two other events co-sanctioned with the PGA Tour after playing at Centurion Club earlier this month, despite being refused permission.

In an open letter published by The Telegraph, the players “implore” the DP World Tour to reconsider the penalties and claim the strengthened partnership between the PGA Tour and DP World Tour leaves the latter playing “second fiddle” to the US-based circuit.

“There has been a leak to the media of a letter we received on behalf of a number of LIV Golf players which contains so many inaccuracies that it cannot remain unchallenged,” said DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley.

A group of survivors and family members who lost loved ones in the September 11th terror attacks have protested against the LIV Golf series

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A group of survivors and family members who lost loved ones in the September 11th terror attacks have protested against the LIV Golf series

A group of survivors and family members who lost loved ones in the September 11th terror attacks have protested against the LIV Golf series

“Before joining LIV Golf, players knew there would be consequences if they chose money over competition. Many of them at the time understood and accepted that. Indeed, as one player named in the letter said in a media interview earlier this year; ‘If they ban me, they ban me.’ It is not credible that some are now surprised with the actions we have taken.

“The letter claims that these players ‘care deeply’ for the DP World Tour. An analysis of the past participation statistics on our Tour in recent years of several of the leading players named, suggests otherwise.”

Pelley alludes to one player that has played in just six Rolex Series events in the last five years and another that has played just four, as well as questioning one player that had given a “signed commitment” to play at the Irish Open.

“I wish many of them had been as keen to play on our Tour then as they seem to be now, based on the fact they have either resigned their membership of the PGA TOUR or, if they are still in membership, have been suspended indefinitely,” Pelley explained.

“Furthermore, given how deeply these players say they care about the DP World Tour, perhaps some of them could have played in Ireland this week in support of our new title sponsor, in particular one player who gave us a signed commitment to play at Mount Juliet.

“With that player currently in action at Pumpkin Ridge, you can imagine the allegation in the letter that we are in the wrong, is hard to accept.”

Ian Poulter has been banned from next week's Genesis Scottish Open

Ian Poulter has been banned from next week’s Genesis Scottish Open

Pelley added that the DP World Tour takes “great exception” to a suggestion in the players’ letter that they were playing ‘second fiddle’ to the PGA Tour, nothing that “nothing could be further from the truth” and citing a meeting held on Tuesday, during which the benefits of their “expanded relationship” were underlined.

“One of those is an unprecedented ten cards on offer to the PGA TOUR, cards that many of the players named in this letter desperately wanted to attain in the early stages of their careers,” Pelley said. “Why now be critical of those trying to do the same?”

The statement also provides assurance over the future of the DP World Tour, which Pelley describes as a “vibrant, independent and global Tour with increasing and guaranteed prize fund growth over the next five years”.

“I will simply reiterate that our Members’ Regulations which have been in force for more than 30 years, have been accepted by all the players, are there to protect all of our members, and we will use them to take all necessary steps to protect their interests.

“The sanctions for those members who knowingly broke our rules by playing at the Centurion Club without a release are proportionate, fair and, I believe, considered necessary by the majority of our members.”

What did the 16 players say?

In the original letter the 16 LIV players set a 5pm deadline on Friday July 1 for the DP World Tour to withdraw the fines and sanctions.

It read: “In Mr Pelley’s latest communication, he uses the statement that every action in life comes with a consequence.

“We agree, and we are concerned that the actions of the Tour against us, LIV Golf and golf in general will have adverse consequences on the DP World Tour, a tour and an organisation that, despite our recent interactions, we care deeply for.

DP World Tour Executive Keith Pelley says there has been little fact and plenty of fiction in reporting about potential partnerships with the LIV Golf Series

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DP World Tour Executive Keith Pelley says there has been little fact and plenty of fiction in reporting about potential partnerships with the LIV Golf Series

DP World Tour Executive Keith Pelley says there has been little fact and plenty of fiction in reporting about potential partnerships with the LIV Golf Series

“The intention of this letter is not to further divide us, but to respond to Tour statements and to pose questions that the Tour should answer and we should discuss in detail.

“Instead of spending our time, energy, financial resources and focus on appeals, injunctions, and lawsuits, we would implore you, the custodians of the DP World Tour, to reconsider your recent penalties and sanctions, and instead
focus our energies on forging a path forward that is better for the DP World Tour members and the game of golf.

“To this end, we ask that you rescind your fines and suspensions by 5pm on Friday, July 1, 2022.

“In addition, we represent over five per cent of the DP World Tour membership and, under its articles of association, we ask you to convene a meeting of Tour membership to discuss these important matters further.

“If not, you will leave us with no choice but to employ the various other means and methods at our disposal to rectify these wrongs.”

A spokesperson for the DP World Tour confirmed to the PA news agency that the letter had been received and said an official response would be released on Friday.

‘Inevitable this will end up in court’

Sky Sports News' Jamie Weir reports that the dispute between the DP World Tour and the LIV players is looking increasingly likely to end up in the courts.

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Sky Sports News’ Jamie Weir reports that the dispute between the DP World Tour and the LIV players is looking increasingly likely to end up in the courts.

Sky Sports News’ Jamie Weir reports that the dispute between the DP World Tour and the LIV players is looking increasingly likely to end up in the courts.

Sky Sports reporter Jamie Weir…

“From the word go it’s been so difficult to know how this whole thing is going to play out. But one thing we have said with a degree of certainty from the beginning is this is inevitably going to get dragged to the courts and then with legal proceedings.

“It seems almost likely that is now the case. That cannot be good for the game of golf.

“The 16 rebel players who have ignored the sanctions put on them by the DP World Tour to play LIV golf have tried to threaten them with legal action, the DP World Tour are holding their ground and saying ‘if you cared so much about the DP World Tour you could have played a bit more’.

“The repercussions to this are fascinating. What’s it going to mean for the Ryder Cup? Henrik Stenson the captain for next year hasn’t yet laid out his qualification criteria, are LIV players going to be able to play in the Ryder Cup?

“Remember the Ryder Cup is controlled by the DP World Tour, by Ryder Cup Europe, by Keith Pelley the chief executive of the DP World Tour. At the moment, the ‘ifs’ are growing wider and wider.”

Ortiz leads field in Oregon

Mexico’s Carlos Ortiz fired a five-under-par 67 to take the first-round lead of the LIV Golf Invitational Portland on Thursday in North Plains, Oregon – the circuit’s first event in the United States.

Ortiz tallied seven birdies and two bogeys at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club to establish a one-stroke lead over Dustin Johnson, who finished at four-under 68.

Carlos Ortiz made the early running with his opening-round 67 when the first LIV Golf tournament to be held in the USA, the Portland Invitational, got under way

Carlos Ortiz made the early running with his opening-round 67 when the first LIV Golf tournament to be held in the USA, the Portland Invitational, got under way

Pat Perez, Japan’s Hideto Tanihara and Branden Grace of South Africa are tied for third at three-under, while Brooks Koepka, South Africa’s Hennie du Plessis and Wade Ormsby of Australia share sixth place at two-under.

Bryson DeChambeau is tied for 14th at even par, while Phil Mickelson and Spain’s Sergio Garcia are tied for 30th at three over.

South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel, who won last month’s LIV opener at St Albans, is tied for 25th in Oregon at two-over par.

LIV events feature 48 players and comprise just three rounds, with no cuts.

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