The DP World Tour Faces Collision Course With Players
THE DP World Tour could be on collision course with its players over releases to play in the $25m Saudi-backed event at Centurion in June. Any DP World Tour member who wants to play has to seek permission, and they have until May 10 to do so.
Players were allowed to compete at the Saudi International this year but that tournament carried world-ranking points and was endorsed by the Asian Tour. The LIV Golf Invitational is a different matter altogether, and rumours persist that that DP World Tour Chief Executive Keith Pelley is going to refuse permission for the likes of Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, Richard Bland, Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace to compete.
The players will have two choices - to accept the DP World Tour’s decision or to go ahead and play at Centurion. The problem is that if they opt to compete, they will almost certainly be subjected to some form of sanction - and that opens the door for the players to seek legal redress.
Tournament professionals regard themselves as freelance contractors who are entitled to play wherever and whenever they want but both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour see things slightly differently.
In other words, it could all get very, very messy.
Pelley has urged members to consider the potential long-term ramifications - on both sporting and ethical grounds - of siding with the Saudis. It makes perfect sense but for the likes of Westwood and Poulter, who are nearing the end of their competitive careers, the opportunity of a golden payout may prove to be too much of a temptation. Just to remind you, the winner at Centurion will collect a mind-blowing $4m for a 54-hole event.
Phil Mickelson and Robert Garrigus have asked for a waiver to compete from the PGA Tour. It is also believed that Bubba Watson and Harold Varner want to play. With only a handful of its members looking to compete at Centurion, the PGA Tour is playing its cards close to its chest.
But it may be a very different matter when Greg Norman’s LIV series arrives in America and rather more PGA Tour members decide they want to compete for mega bucks.
Be sure of one thing - this is going to run and run and it is difficult to see who is going to emerge as a winner.
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