As it now stands, and despite each being Honorary members of the European Tour, the LIV Golf trio of Graeme McDowell, Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer cannot be chosen for the 2023 European Ryder Cup side.
That’s the message from Tour CEO Keith Pelley following formal confirmation today following the DP World Tour winning their arbitration case against 12 members of the rebel tour.
LIV players were adjudged to have “committed serious breaches of code behaviour” by playing in conflicting events without permission that included competing in the very first LIV Golf last June at the Centurion Club outside of London when they could have been teeing-up at the DP World Tour’s Made in Denmark.
The three-man Sports Resolutions arbitration panel also dismissed the appeal of 12 LIV players and left them ordered to pay £100,000 fines within 30 days, though one would expect the LIV Tour would have already guaranteed to meet any such payments.
However, while Pelley says the likes of McDowell, Garcia and Kaymer cannot be picked for Luke Donald’s European side, he admitted it does not end the future hopes of the LIV stars ever again being involved in future editions of the biennial contest.
That would seem to all hinge on them leaving LIV Golf and rejoining the DP World Tour as Pelley said in speaking to SKY Sports.
“I don’t think that is necessarily the case,” said Pelley.
“Last year, we lost three potential captains in Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer when they fell out of membership by not meeting the minimum requirement according to our tournament regulations.
“Even though you are an honorary member, if you don’t meet your minimum requirement, you are no longer eligible to be captain or vice-captain. Whether that happens with some of these players down the road, that is their choice.
“We are not banning these players. In order to play in the Ryder Cup you have to be European and you have to be a member of the DP World Tour, and there’s two ways to get in – you can qualify and there’s six qualifying spots, or Luke Donald has six picks totally at his discretion.
“I think it’ll be tougher for them to get in through the qualifying way if we indeed pose sanctions, but also based on because they’ve committed to playing in events against playing in DP World Tour qualifying events.
“They are still very eligible if they qualify or if Luke feels that they need to be on the team.”
The question now to be asked, what happens next.
The arbitration panel found that Pelley “acted entirely reasonably in refusing releases” and that the regulations “cannot be said to go beyond what is necessary and proportionate to the continued operation as a professional golf tour”, with the DP World Tour now looking at how to impose sanctions going forward.
“We’ve always said that we’ll never begrudge them [LIV players] for going, but they will face consequences,” Pelley added.
“We now have a process in front of us where we will analyse all facets of the decision.
“On an individual basis, we will discuss our legal advisors, our senior management team, our board, our tournament committee, and determine what is a fair, reasonable and proportionate sanction. Then they [LIV players] have to decide, and it’s totally their choice. I don’t look at it as a sad day at all, I look at it as a day that allows us to administer our rules and regulations.
“There’s a lot of work to be done. There’s a lot of forensic analysis, scrutiny, details and meticulous thought that’s gone into the $100,000 fine for the Centurion Club and the sanctions. Now we need to do those multiple times.
“I’m coming back to the UK as soon as possible because this is what we need to do, we need to focus on this, we need to make a decision as quick as we possibly can, but to do so, it has to be a collective decision.”
+ Thanks to SKY Sports for quotes
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