DP World Tour fires back at LIV golfers who threatened legal action if they are banned or fined

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DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley issued a response Friday to a leaked letter signed by 16 members of LIV Golf that insinuated legal action against the DP World Tour if bans and fines against them were not rescinded.

Pelley, who is presiding over this week’s Irish Open and next week’s Scottish Open (which is co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour and is the event players are being banned from playing), wrote a lengthy letter to the 16 DP World Tour golfers who are playing in Portland this week at the second LIV Golf event.

“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.

“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.

DP World Tour golfers such as Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter, both of whom were part of the group of players who wrote the letter to the DP World Tour, were fined £100,000 for their participation in the first LIV Golf event at the Centurion Club in London. According to a report by Golf Channel, those fines will continue to double with each LIV Golf event.

Those fines, according to sources, will be doubled with each additional violation, which means Westwood, Poulter and Garcia now owe another £200,000 fine for playing this week’s LIV Golf event.

A last-minute legal reprieve that would allow the suspended players to play the Scottish Open seems logistically unlikely, but a few of the banned players, including Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Poulter and Westwood, will be making the trip to Ireland this weekend to participate in the J.P. McManus Pro-Am on Monday and Tuesday.

This could get costly for either the players or LIV Golf, which has volunteered to “defend, reimburse and represent” golfers. It is unclear whether that means within lawsuits or the defending, reimbursing and representing applies to fines from other tours as well.

Regardless, it’s clear that the DP World Tour is not back down from its position. However, it remains unclear how far that position extends. For now, players have only been suspended from events that are co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour and not from events that are exclusive to the DP World Tour. Although fines have — and apparently will continue to be — levied for participation in LIV Golf events, it will be interesting to see in the days ahead whether bans from future DP World Tour events will extend beyond the handful of events that are collaborations with the PGA Tour.

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