LIV Golf rebels have been warned further sanctions are likely if they continue to play in the Saudi-backed breakaway series after the implicated DP World Tour players who “deliberately broke the rules” were fined £100,000 and banned from the Scottish Open from next month.
The likes of Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Martin Kaymer – all Ryder Cup veterans – are among those who have been punished after participating in the inaugural event in Hertfordshire earlier this month, despite not receiving a release for it.
They have been warned that further penalties may follow if they play in Portland, Oregon next week.
DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley declined to confirm whether entry to the Ryder Cup was also at stake, but emphasized that the qualification criteria for next year’s event in Rome had not yet been finalized.
Announcing the sanctions, the DP World Tour, formerly the European Tour, said in a statement: “It is important to note that entering one or more conflicting tournaments without the required release may result in further sanctions.”
While the PGA Tour immediately banned all of its members indefinitely within minutes of the players starting hitting at Centurion Club two weeks ago, the DP World Tour postponed making a decision until now.
Pelley consulted wider members of the organization before the decision was made to impose sanctions on the players involved, who have also been banned from the PGA Tour in addition to the Scottish Open – traditionally used as a warm-up for the Open Championship the following week. co-sanctioned Barbasol Championship and the Barracuda Championship next month.
“Very simply, several of our members have intentionally violated our rules and regulations of conflicting tournament regulations that are in the membership handbook they have signed,” Pelley said.
“It’s not a new rule, it’s been around for 30 years.
“When they spoke to many of our members, they were discouraged; they felt disrespected, disrespectful to the tour from the members who have willfully violated these rules and regulations that are there to regulate our tour, to protect themselves, to protect the sponsors and stakeholders.
“Ultimately, the action required a consequence and we felt we had taken a fair and proportionate step.”
On whether the opportunity to participate in the Ryder Cup could be withdrawn, the DP World Tour chief executive, who emphasized that their decision was made independently of their US counterparts, added: “European qualifiers for 2023 have not yet been finalized. announced and until it is announced we will have no comment on the Ryder Cup.”
The money raised from the fines will be split equally between prize money from upcoming tournaments on the DP World Tour and the tour’s Golf for Good charitable program.
But while the £100,000 fine may seem punitive, it dwarfs the money offered by LIV Golf.
Charl Schwartzel, for example, took home £3.2 million for winning the opening event, while last place in the 48-man, no-cut tournament received £97,500.
And last month, LIV Golf chief executive Greg Norman promised the organization to pay any fines incurred by their participants.
“We will defend you, we will refund your fines and we will represent you if you want to go the legal way,” the Australian said in early May.
An unrepentant Kaymer, who plays at the BMW International in Germany this week, remains hopeful for some entry into the Ryder Cup.
“I’ve made my choice and I can live with whatever comes my way,” he told Sky Sports.
“When it comes to this, maybe we can’t play tournaments, that’s what it is – I just hope it doesn’t affect the Ryder Cup too much.
“Hopefully everyone can sit down and find solutions that are good for everyone, not bad for everyone.
“There is no tour that owns golf. We should all work together for the big picture.”