LIV Golf players demand DP World Tour rescinds fines and bans or risk legal action

Westwood and Poulter among 16 players to write letter to DP World Tour

Ian Poulter, right, and Lee Westwood during the second round of the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational at Centurion Club. Reuters
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Sixteen LIV Golf players, including Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter, have threatened legal action against the DP World Tour if their fines for joining the breakaway tour are not rescinded by Friday.

DP World Tour members were banned from three upcoming DP World Tour events and fined £100,000 ($121,230.00) each after playing in the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf's opening event in the UK. It means the players are currently unable to compete at the DP World Tour and PGA Tour co-sanctioned Scottish Open next week, a key tune-up tournament for the Open Championship.

"Instead of spending our time, energy, financial resources and focus on appeals, injunctions and lawsuits, we would implore you ... to reconsider your recent penalties and sanctions," the letter read, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The players called on the tour to "rescind your fines and suspensions by 5:00 p.m. on Friday".

"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."

The US-based PGA Tour, which announced a 13-year partnership with the DP World Tour this week, has also suspended players for joining the breakaway circuit.

The players said in the letter that the alliance would have a negative impact on DP World Tour players.

"Approximately 40 DP World Tour members who would have been eligible for the Scottish Open on the DP World tour will now not be eligible, and instead will only have the option to go and play on the PGA Tour in Kentucky the week before The Open, for less money but at a higher cost to participate," the letter read.

"That the DP World Tour top performers will now earn PGA Tour cards serves only to solidify the DP World Tour as second fiddle to the PGA Tour and depletes the DP World Tour's top rising talent even further."

The second LIV event teed off in Portland, Oregon on Thursday at the Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, going head-to-head with the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic.

The letter in full

“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.

“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 5:00 pm on Friday, July 1, 2022. In addition, we represent over 5 percent 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.

“We appreciate that the argument being put forward is that the ‘strategic alliance’ with the PGA Tour will provide overall benefit to DP World Tour members - hence the competitive threat to the PGA Tour being treated differently when it comes to releases and other matters.

“To begin with, we do not accept that protecting the PGA Tour through this alliance could in any way justify this disparate treatment. Even if it could, what are these benefits? This a question we have asked for many months.

“Thus far, the option to play the Barracuda Championship instead of the Scottish Open doesn’t appear to be one that benefits the membership at all. Ultimately, approximately 40 DP World Tour members who would have been eligible for the Scottish Open on the DP World Tour will now not be eligible, and  instead will only have the option to go and play on the PGA Tour in Kentucky the week before The Open, for less money but at a higher cost to participate.

“In addition, PGA Tour players have been encouraged to play the Scottish Open through a stipend to cover travel costs, but the same benefit is not afforded to DP World Tour  members?! That the DP World Tour top performers will now earn PGA Tour cards serves only to solidify the DP World Tour as second fiddle to the PGA Tour and depletes the DP World Tour’s top rising talent even further. And without regard to whether this collaboration is lawful, would this collaboration be happening without LIV Golf entering the market?”

Updated: July 01, 2022, 7:09 AM
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