LIV players fined, banned by DP World Tour from playing in co-sanctioned events

sergio garcia ian poulter

Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter play at the LIV Golf Invitational at Centurion Club earlier this month.

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The golf wars continue forward, as the DP World Tour has fined members who played in the LIV Golf London event, and banned them from playing in three upcoming events co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour. The tour’s reasoning is simple: members played in an event — at Centurion Club, June 9-11, just outside London — without obtaining releases from the tour. 

The price of those actions is straightforward as well. Members who took part in that event — players like Graeme McDowell, Martin Kaymer, Sergio Garcia — were fined £100,000 and hereby banned from competing in three co-sanctioned events: the Scottish Open, the Barbasol Championship and the Barracuda Championship, which all take place in July. 

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“Every action anyone takes in life comes with a consequence and it is no different in professional sport, especially if a person chooses to break the rules,” DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley said. “That is what has occurred here with several of our members.”

As the battle for freedom and money and tour membership and playing privileges wages out across the men’s professional golf world, it was always going to be important how the DP World Tour proceeded. It has waited to this point while the PGA Tour, based in America, struck down its own ban of players who competed in England. Jay Monahan, the commissioner of the PGA Tour, sent a memo to its members almost instantly once play began at the event in early June. 

But as the first round finished, and DP World Tour members reached the podium, many of them didn’t care about a PGA Tour ban. Some of them, like Garcia, McDowell and Lee Westwood, had resigned their membership already. But they largely hoped to maintain membership on the DP World Tour and play in events across Europe this summer. And they were allowed to play in this week’s BMW International Open in Germany. 

But two weeks from now, when the golf world descends upon Renaissance Club for the Scottish Open, those players will not be allowed to play. They have been removed from entry lists as well, which was able to confirm Friday morning. Interestingly, there will be more players yanked from the current Scottish Open field, in the same way Brooks Koepka was, as LIV Golf is planning to reveal three more players for its Portland field list Monday. 

There will be 75 DP World Tour members filling that field at the Scottish, and it seems those are the players who Pelley has been most concerned with lately. His message continued with:  

“Many members I have spoken to in recent weeks expressed the viewpoint that those who have chosen this route have not only disrespected them and our Tour, but also the meritocratic ecosystem of professional golf that has been the bedrock of our game for the past half a century and which will also be the foundation upon which we build the next 50 years.

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“Their actions are not fair to the majority of our membership and undermine the Tour, which is why we are taking the action we have announced today.”

In a quick, in-house produced interview, Pelley was asked why these sanctions are different than those handed down by the PGA Tour. He responded matter-of-factly with the idea that, though the two tours have signed a “strategic alliance,” they still work and govern independently. Does that mean the DP World Tour would strengthen its alliance in the future? Or could the “swirling rumors,” as Pelley put it, about partnerships with LIV Golf provide a different looking schedule in the future? Pelley wasn’t willing to commit either way.

“There’s been a lot of speculation, a lot of rumors swirling,” he said. “There’s been very little fact, and lots of fiction. Factually, I can tell you we are partners with the PGA Tour in our strategic alliance, that has been very beneficial since we signed that back in November 2020. 

“There is a tremendous amount of fiction and you have to be careful with what is transpiring right now across all media platforms. I encourage everyone to, again, deal with the fact.

“The one fact is we will ALWAYS concentrate on doing the best for our membership, our sponsors and our stakeholders. For our players and members, that is prize fund and playing opportunities.”

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