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16 LIV Golf pros threaten legal action against DP World Tour; DP World Tour responds

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16 LIV Golf players have threatened the DP World Tour with legal action after being banned from the Scottish Open and fined £100,000.

The 16 players will likely include Europeans such as Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer. In the letter obtained by “The Telegraph”, the players said that the Tour’s actions to ban and fine players “will have adverse consequences on the DP World Tour.”

The letter ‘implored’ the DP World Tour to “reconsider your recent penalties and sanctions” and rescind the fines and suspensions by 5pm on Friday. If the Tour doesn’t rescind the bans and fines by that time, the players will be taking immediate legal action. “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,” the letter states.

The letter also criticizes the DP World Tour’s decision to partner with the PGA TOUR for the Scottish Open and Barracuda Championship. Due to their alliance, some DP World Tour players have been forced out of the Scottish Open to make room for PGA Tour players. Therefore, some DP World Tour players will have to fly to Kentucky to play for a smaller purse in the week before the 150th Open Championship.

Additionally, the 16 players criticized the DP World Tour’s new deal with the PGA Tour that will see the top 10 players on the Race to Dubai rankings earn PGA Tour cards.

“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”.

Full letter here:

“In Mr Pelley’s latest communication, he uses the statement that every action in life comes with a consequence. We agree, and we are concerned that the actions of the Tour against us, LIV Golf, and golf in general will have adverse consequences on the DP World Tour, a tour and an organisation that, despite our recent interactions, we care deeply for.

“The intention of this letter is not to further divide us, but to respond to Tour statements and to pose questions that the Tour should answer and we should discuss in detail. Instead of spending our time, energy, financial resources, and focus on appeals, injunctions, and lawsuits, we would implore you, the custodians of the DP World Tour, to reconsider your recent penalties and sanctions, and instead focus our energies on forging a path forward that is better for the DP World Tour members and the game of golf.

“To this end, we ask that you rescind your fines and suspensions by 5:00 pm on Friday, July 1, 2022. In addition, we represent over 5 percent of the DP World Tour membership and, under its articles of association, we ask you to convene a meeting of Tour membership to discuss these important matters further. 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.

“We appreciate that the argument being put forward is that the ‘strategic alliance’ with the PGA Tour will provide overall benefit to DP World Tour members – hence the competitive threat to the PGA Tour being treated differently when it comes to releases and other matters.

“To begin with, 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 a question we have asked for many months.

“Thus far, the option to play the Barracuda Championship instead of the Scottish Open doesn’t appear to be one that benefits the membership at all. Ultimately, 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.

“In addition, PGA Tour players have been encouraged to play the Scottish Open through a stipend to cover travel costs, but the same benefit is not afforded to DP World Tour members?! 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. And without regard to whether this collaboration is lawful, would this collaboration be happening without LIV Golf entering the market?”

In response, the DP World Tour released this statement on Friday morning:

“There has been a leak to the media of a letter we received on behalf of a number of LIV Golf players which contains so many inaccuracies that it cannot remain unchallenged.

“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.

“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.

“We held a player meeting in Ireland on Tuesday where we outlined in great detail all the many benefits of our expanded relationship with the PGA TOUR.

“One of those is an unprecedented ten cards on offer to the PGA TOUR, cards that many of the players named in this letter desperately wanted to attain in the early stages of their careers. Why now be critical of those trying to do the same?

“The letter also expresses supposed concern about the future of the DP World Tour. Rest assured no-one should have any worries on that score.

“The DP World Tour is a vibrant, independent and global Tour with increasing and guaranteed prize fund growth over the next five years. We have fantastic tournaments across the year including a host of wonderful national Opens, all played in front of huge crowds, illustrated perfectly by this week’s Horizon Irish Open.

“Finally, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on any potential legal matters.

“I will simply reiterate that our Members’ Regulations which have been in force for more than 30 years, have been accepted by all the players, are there to protect all of our members, and we will use them to take all necessary steps to protect their interests.

“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.”

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Mike

    Jul 2, 2022 at 9:05 am

    What exactly is the DP tour. Is it some offshoot of the European tour? I saw an event on TV over the weekend and there were some notable European pros playing in it. So I can’t figure it out if it’s a competitive to the European tour, a partner, etc

  2. Warner

    Jul 2, 2022 at 9:03 am

    I like how the players always were treated as indepedent contractors and now they suddenly need a release to play a different tour.
    If you only can work for a single company and only they can decide if you can pursue a different job opportunity you are an employee.
    But pga and dp never wanted them to be employees, because of paying social benefits, right to create a players union etc.
    They used their monopolistic leverage for too long

    • ItDoBeFactsTho

      Jul 3, 2022 at 4:34 pm

      Bingo, well said.

      The PGA Tour and the DP World Tour are scared and are trying to find ways to hold onto their monopolies at the top of golf. Frightened people make poor decisions and the future will show us how badly they’ve played their hands.

  3. Jim

    Jul 2, 2022 at 1:32 am

    Support for LIV is higher than ever.
    People dont like the strong arm monopolistic behavior from both the PGA and Euro tour(I’m old and it’s the euro tour)
    More tournaments and way more money is good.
    Stop being haters

    • larrybud

      Jul 2, 2022 at 6:57 am

      Of course it’s “higher than ever” because nobody was supporting them in the first place.

      Anyway, I thought their beef was that they play too much, and now they want to play more? Make up your mind!

  4. Your daddy

    Jul 2, 2022 at 12:32 am

    Sue already. Quit the back and forth and lay it out there. Crush pelley

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19th Hole

‘Stay away in your fantasy land’ – Pro blasts LIV rebels over wanting to play PGA Tour events

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There have been a handful of golfers to speak out harshly against the LIV Golf defectors in recent months including Billy Horschel, Davis Love III and Robert MacIntyre.

Joel Dahmen added his name to that list yesterday after eleven LIV members filed a lawsuit against the PGA TOUR.

In a tweet, Dahmen claimed to speak for “most tour players”.

In a follow up tweet, Dahmen clarified that his issue isn’t with players joining LIV Golf, it was with them attempting to still play on the PGA TOUR.

Harry Higgs was one tour pro to support Dahmen’s view, responding to his tweets saying: “Yeah take your cake elsewhere gents.”

Dahmen’s harsh words could be in part due to PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan’s statement, which asked current PGA TOUR members to “speak out publicly on the issue”.

“I also encourage you to speak out publicly on this issue, if you’re so inclined,” Monahan said in the letter where he accused LIV players of “trying to use lawyers to force their way into competition alongside our members.”

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19th Hole

Bryson suspended for ‘talking to other Tour members about positive LIV experience’, lawsuit alleges

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Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal first reported on a suit that was filed on behalf of eleven players who are currently suspended by the PGA TOUR for joining LIV Golf.

There were plenty of interesting bits of information in the 105-page complaint. Foremost among them is the alleged details that were revealed behind Phil Mickelson’s suspension.

According to the document, “Lefty” has been suspended by the PGA TOUR since March 22.

“On March 22, 2022, the Commissioner suspended Plaintiff Mickelson (with the opportunity to apply for reinstatement in May of 2022) for, among other alleged reasons, ‘attempting to recruit players to join [LIV Golf]’.”

It was widely speculated during that time that Mickelson may have been suspended, but the information was never shared by the PGA TOUR or reported.

The court documents also reveal that Mickelson applied for reinstatement on June 20th, which was shortly after he teed it up at Centurion Club for the first LIV Golf Series event.

As expected, the documents claim that the TOUR shut that down as well.

“The Tour denied his request, stating that Plaintiff Mickelson violated Tour regulations by participating in the LIV Golf London Invitational.”

The documents also allege that Mickelson wasn’t the only former major champion who was suspended by the PGA TOUR.

The suit filed also revealed that Bryson DeChambeau is suspended through March of 2023.

The document states that the 28-year-old is suspended allegedly “for talking to other Tour members about the positive experience he had had with LIV Golf.”

The “LIV 11” lawsuit is just the first shoe to drop in what likely will be a tumultuous fall season to come in golf.

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19th Hole

Greg Norman creates storm by falsely claiming LPGA Tour is sponsored by Saudi Oil Company Aramco

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From the initial Mickelson-gate to an interview that hasn’t happened yet, the golf world continues to analyze every press conference, email and statement released by the LIV organization and its so-called rivals, the PGA and DP World tours.

Much of the controversy surrounds the answers given to the question, “Why?”

At the start of the controversial LIV series, much of the furore surrounded players that jumped from the ‘Mother Ship’ (PGA/DP) to a tour run and funded via a company closely related to the Saudi Kingdom, one that has received worldwide condemnation for its human rights issues.

Earlier press interviews were awkward, and at least one competitor, Graeme McDowell, has spoken about the way he has been treated by the wider golf public.

Reasons given for the departure to the rebel tour have been as ‘leverage’ against current playing/media conditions issued by the main tours, that there would be ‘more time to be spent with family’, even that the 54-hole shotgun start is a far more attractive proposition than the traditional 72-hole split tee-time.

LIV CEO Greg Norman has also often come to the microphone to say he doesn’t quite understand the mass anger at LIV and its paymasters, given that Saudi Arabia is very much involved with some of the biggest companies in the world and many other sporting competitions.

However, his recent comment in an interview with Fox News reporter Tucker Carlson has set the golf world alight, in particular those involved with the LPGA.

During the report, Norman again says he cannot understand the attitude of many against LIV itself, stating that:

“The @LPGA Tour is sponsored by Aramco.”

Carlson raises his eyebrows and asks, “Literally?” before Norman again confirms his belief saying “the largest sponsor of women’s golf in the world is Aramco.”

As can be seen by the reaction from LPGA player Brittany Lincicome, this has not gone down well.

A host of names have taken to social media to refute Norman’s statement, with Lincicome, Lisa Cornwell, ex-Golf Channel broadcaster, and Beth Ann Nichols, Golfweek senior writer, amongst those that were at pains to point out that Aramco are associated with the Ladies European Tour rather than the US version and only as sponsors.

In a similar way to the feeder link between the PGA and DP World tours, the LPGA has an association with the LET, supporting the tour in both a financial and stabilizing role. However, with the Aramco series a sponsored event, it is a far cry from being a direct employer, as with LIV.

Cornwell, who resigned from the Golf Channel amidst ‘mistreatment’ at the end of 2020, was at pains to ask:

“How can the CEO of  LIV Golf get this wrong? Good Lord…”

Much of Twitter golf were posting their views, with one user asking professional golfer Sarah Kemp, “Does Aramco sponsor the LPGA Tour? Yes or No?” and received the simple answer, “No.”

He then asks, “So your position is No, but how about the LPGA Tour players that play in their sponsored tournaments? It appears that they do sponsor golf and until LIV was involved, those players had no problems taking the money. Please explain.”

In a separate thread but counteracting that stance, golf podcast host John Ziegler pointed out:

“It’s sad that Tucker Carlson, who I really like & once worked for, apparently fell for this BS analogy. Having a sponsor who does business with, or is even part owned by the Saudis, is NOT the same thing as the Saudis themselves creating a fake golf tour as a political PR effort!”

In another tweet, Kemp explains her stance against the comment that any Saudi company is the largest sponsor in the ladies’ game:

“Aramco is also NOT the largest sponsor in women’s golf. The @CMEGroupLPGA, a solo-sponsored event, has a higher purse than all 6 Aramco events combined.”

Hugely respected journalist who covers women’s golf extensively, Beth Ann Nichols then weighed in saying:

“The six Aramco events are on the LET schedule, not the LPGA! And yes, the LPGA and LET united several years ago in a joint venture. They have a partnership. But those are not LPGA events.”

In the week of the Women’s British Open, somehow, the LIV organization has come to the fore of the golfing world again.

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