LIV Golf rebels including Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood threaten legal action against the DP World Tour unless sanctions against them are removed by 5pm TODAY… after they were banned from tournaments and fined for grabbing Saudi cash
Sixteen players – including Ryder Cups stars Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood – have threatened the DP World Tour with legal action unless their sanctions for competing in the first LIV Golf event are rescinded today.
Die 16 DP World Tour members 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 the inaugural LIV Golf event at Centurion Club earlier this month, despite being refused permission by the DP World Tour.
Golf’s rebel series, financed by $2billion of cash from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and fronted by former world No 1 Greg Norman, has lured the likes of Westwood and Poulter with mega money, with the duo each reported to be earning £20million simply for signing up. Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson are reported to have been paid up to £200m for joining.
Critics of LIV Golf say it is a cynical attempt at sports washing the Saudi regime’s reputation for human rights abuses, including the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the repression of women and mass public executions.
In an open letter published by die Telegraph, die 16 players ‘implore’ the DP World Tour – the rebranded European Tour – to reconsider the penalties, which they say are ‘likely unlawful’.
They also claim the strengthened partnership between the PGA Tour – golf’s leading tour to which the likes of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have remained committed, rejecting the Saudi money – and the DP World Tour leaves the latter playing ‘second fiddle’ to the US-based circuit.
Dit lees: ‘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.
Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter are among 16 golfers who have threatened legal action against the DP World Tour unless their sanctions for competing in the first LIV Golf event are rescinded
The DP World Tour have said they will issue a response on Friday (CEO Keith Pelley pictured)
‘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, energie, 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, Julie 1, 2022.
Greg Norman (reg) is fronting LIV Golf, which is backed by $2billion of Saudi Arabia’s cash; Charl Schwartzel pocketed an eye-watering £3.85m for winning its first event (op die foto)
Die 16 golfers, including Poulter, have demanded the sanctions be lifted by 5pm on Friday
‘Daarbenewens, we represent over 5 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.
As well as being banned from its tournaments, the threat remains that the DP World Tour could ban players from appearing in the Ryder Cup, golf’s showpiece event in which Europe take on the United States. Poulter and Westwood have been two of the European team’s star names for over 20 jare, playing in a combined 18 Ryder Cups between them.
Sergio Garcia and Graeme McDowell are two more Ryder Cup stalwarts who would have been shoo-ins to be team captain in the future but have now joined LIV Golf.
The latest defectors to LIV Golf include four-time major champion Brooks Koepka, former Masters champion Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau, a US Open winner who has become one of the biggest names in the sport due to his incredible transformation into a muscle-bound athlete capable of driving the ball huge distances.
Rising star Matthew Wolff has also committed himself to LIV Golf in the last week.
Brooks Koepka, one of the latest star defectors, hits at shot at the second LIV Golf event, being held at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Oregon this week
Phil Mickelson (reg) has been lured with around £200million of Saudi money
LIV Golf is hosting its second event this week at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in Portland, Oregon, where players are competing for a huge £20m prize pot. South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel pocketed an eye-watering £3.85m for finishing top of the leaderboard at Centurion Club – far in excess of the £2.6m earned by Matt Fitzpatrick for winning the US Open last month.
The Scottish Open will be the first jointly-sanctioned tournament ever staged between the DP World Tour and the PGA Tour, and held at the Renaissance Club in North Berwick next Thursday.
The sanctioned players can play in the event if they pay their fines by a deadline of Friday July 8, reports the Telegraph. They have also been banned from the Barbasol Championship (Julie 7-10) and the Barracuda Championship (Julie 14-17).