Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter are among 16 LIV Golf players who have written to the DP World Tour asking it to rescind its fines and allow them to compete in next week’s Scottish Open, according to a report.
The British golfers were among the European tour’s members who were banned from three upcoming DP World Tour events and fined £100,000 ($121,230) each after playing in the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series’ opening event in London.
“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 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.”
On Friday, DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley issued a long statement that said the leaked letter contained “so many inaccuracies that it cannot remain unchallenged.”
The statement read: “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 U.S.-based PGA Tour, which announced a 13-year partnership with the DP World Tour this week, has 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.
“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 letter said.
Pelley responded: “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. One player in particular named in the note has only played six Rolex Series events in the past five years. Another one, only four. 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.
“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.
“We also take great exception to an allegation made near the end of the letter which states we are somehow playing ‘second fiddle’ to the PGA TOUR. Nothing could be further from the truth,” he added.
Pelley goes on to explain the benefits of the DP World Tour’s partnership with the PGA Tour, before finally commenting on the sanctions imposed on LIV players.
“Finally, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on any potential legal matters … 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.”
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.
Information from Reuters is included in this report.
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