Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood are among a group of 16 players who have been fined and banned from the Scottish Open who have threatened the DP World Tour with legal action unless their sanctions are lifted before Friday.
The penalties – £100,000 individual fines and bans from upcoming tournaments, including the Scottish Open – were handed out last Friday by the DP World Tour, formerly the European Tour, as they formally moved to penalize all players who signed up for the Saudi rebel tour , which launched earlier this month.
There is a deadline for the Tour next Friday, July 8, meaning the Rebels won’t be able to play until they pay their fines, although LIV Golf has responded by offering financial assistance to its players to help offset any fines or legal fees. decks they might incur.
But the players involved have threatened legal action unless they are allowed to play in the Scottish Open, the first-ever jointly sanctioned tournament between the DP World Tour and PGA Tour, at the Renaissance Club in Berwick next Thursday.
In an open letter, the 16 players allege that the DP World Tour is hypocritical in banning them while allowing others to participate in events outside their tour, claiming that the penalties meted out against them are “extremely unfair and likely be illegal”.
They also question the 13-year partnership announced this week between the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour, asking why the latter seems to be accepting that it will play second fiddle to its American big brother.
A letter, signed by 16 of this week’s LIV Golf Invitational participants in Portland, who will be fined for playing in the event, and sent to DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley and other board members, called for negotiations order the rebel series with the two existing traditional tours, or risk future legal action.
It read: “In Mr Pelley’s last communication he uses the proposition that every action in life has a consequence. We agree, and are concerned that the Tour’s actions against us, LIV Golf and golf in general will have adverse effects on the DP World Tour, a tour and organization where, despite our recent interactions, we to care.
“The intent of this letter is not to divide us further, but to respond to Tour statements and ask questions that the Tour needs to answer and which we need to discuss in detail. Rather than spend our time, energy and financial resources focusing on appeals, injunctions and lawsuits, we would beg you, the administrators of the DP World Tour, to reconsider your recent sentences and sanctions and instead focus energy on forging a path forward that is better for DP World Tour members and the game of golf.
To do this, we ask you to withdraw your fines and suspensions before 5 p.m. Friday, July 1, 2022. In addition, we represent more than 5 percent of DP World Tour membership and, by statute, we are asking you to convene a Tour membership meeting to further discuss these important matters. If not, you leave us no choice but to use the various other means and methods at our disposal to rectify these errors.”
The 16 players also wondered what the DP World Tour has actually gained from its “strategic alliance” with the PGA Tour, as several of its high-profile members regularly miss tournaments to play in the United States, while the ban on LIV golfers several more will mean are absent.
“We appreciate the argument being made that the ‘strategic alliance’ with the PGA Tour will bring overall benefits to DP World Tour members – hence the competitive threat to the PGA Tour being treated differently when it comes to releases and other matters,” the letter continued.
“For starters, 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 is a question we’ve been asking ourselves for months.
“So far the option to play the Barracuda Championship rather than the Scottish Open does not seem at all beneficial to membership. Ultimately, approximately 40 DP World Tour members who would have qualified for the Scottish Open on the DP World Tour will now be ineligible, instead only having the opportunity to play the week before The Open on the PGA Tour in Kentucky to play, 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 expenses, but the same benefit is not offered to DP World Tour members?! That the top performers of the DP World Tour will now earn PGA Tour tickets only serves to strengthen the DP World Tour as second fiddle to the PGA Tour and further exhaust the emerging top talent of the DP World Tour. And regardless of whether this collaboration is lawful, would this collaboration take place without LIV Golf coming to the market?”