DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley has stressed there will be ‘consequences’ not only to LIV golfers who broke the Tour rules and regulations in joining LIV but the Tour is also looking to possibly sanction those LIV golfers who tee-up in August in back-to-back Asian Tour events in the UK.
Pelley was speaking in an interview with Bunkered Magazine following last fortnight’s London-based Sports Resolutions Panel decision declaring the DP World Tour was correct in fining those players £100,000 each in choosing to tee-up last July in the inaugural LIV event at the Centurion Club and not enter the corresponding DP World Tour event that week in Sweden.
“I am quite pleased we (DP World Tour) can administer our rules and regulations because if we didn’t, and we weren’t able to do that, then I think it would be challenging not only for golf organisations and members organisations but all sports organisations, and all businesses,” said Pelley.
“You have to be able to have rules. You have to be able to have regulations. Ours are unique as they were determined by our members and it’s our members who appoint the tournament committees while it’s the tournament committee that appoints the board, which is made up predominantly of past members and they create the rules and regulations, and we as the executives are there to administer them.
“If we can’t administer them, then everything falls apart.”
Pelley was asked if he felt relieved by the decision.
“I don’t know if I am relieved but it has been a lengthy process but both sides entered this arbitration process with the aim of seeking clarity and direction, and that decision has now been provided,” he said.
“So, we now expect that decision to be respected in the same way we respected the sanctions last July. We are now trying to figure out the best course of action.
“That is going to take a number of different meetings and much dialogue going forward because just like in the decision to sanction at the Centurion Club which was the initial LIV event, we now have to look at Slaley Hall (He meant to say Close House) which is on the Asian Tour in August, and the players who play in that event, are really going to be looked at, as well, who will also have broken the rules and regulations, and they will be sanctioned accordingly.”
In fact, there are two Asian Tour events to take place in August with the second International Series England being staged in the third week of August at Close House, a club that previously hosted the DP World Tour’s British Masters (2017 & 2020).
A week later the Asian Tour will be in Scotland for a first time, teeing-up on the outskirts of St. Andrews with the hosting of the St. Andrews Bay Championship at the Fairmont Resort.
And Pelley hints there could be further restrictions to LIV players who tee-up on UK soil in these two events.
“We have been pretty consistent with our approach and that has never been the same as the PGA Tour’s approach, as our approach has always been different from the PGA Tour (Who have suspended their members) and we will look at every individual case based on our rules and regulations,” Pelley said.
“We will also look at it on a tournament-by-tournament basis, on a tour-by-tour basis. That’s what we are doing now. We are looking at the Asian Tour and LIV, and some of the tournaments that are in our market, time zones and all kinds of different things but on an individual basis.
“It’s important to understand that whatever decision that we make, the LIV players will still be able to play. It is their choice. It is their choice to go play on LIV and it will be their choice if they decide they want to continue to play on the DP World Tour.
“They’ve had a stay since last July but that’s not just what they’ve done. They’ve shown they’re not prepared to play but they will have the total opportunity to be able play but there will be sanctions. They’re will be consequences”.
Disappointingly, Pelley was not asked in the interview why the DP World Tour failed to afford the Asian Tour the courtesy of its decision (As mentioned by the Asian Tour) to stage two new events earlier this year in Singapore and Thailand, and in the very front yard of the Asian Tour.
Pelley was very critical of a LIV Tour statement of April 6th, delivered two days after the decision of the arbitration hearing, and issued by LIV Golf’s counsel, Matthew Schwartz of Gibson Dunn.
Schwartz prefaced the statement saying: “We disagree with the procedural opinion from the DP World Tour’s arbitral body, which has failed to address in reasonable substance why competitive forces must be upheld”.
Pelley responded to this opening LIV sentence.
“It’s incredibly important to remember that this (decision) was an independent arbitration panel that both sides agreed to, and they came to the same decision,” Pelley said.
“I only make this point as it’s insulting to call the Sports Resolution Panel, to call them the DP World Tour’s arbitral controlled body as said by the lawyers representing the (LIV) players said in a statement released last week when the verdict was released.
“That’s offensive. This was an arbitration panel that was independent and they made the decision.
“So, there will be consequences and what they will be, we will determine over the coming weeks and we will really endeavour to move-on as quickly as we can, and not only for the LIV players but for our partners, our stakeholders and our current members.
“So, we are going to do it very quickly but like I said that when you break rules and regulations, and they are administered and put in place by our members, for our members, then there are consequences.”
Pelley also reaffirmed the European Ryder Cup captaincy or vice-captaincy doors have been slammed shut on the likes of Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell.
“That’s correct”, said Pelley when asked in the Bunkered Magazine interview if it’s correct that the trio will never become either a captain or vice-captain of a European team.
“In our regulations, and this was done well before a competitor entered the market place that if you fell out of membership, and didn’t meet your minimum, then could never be a Ryder Cup captain or vice-captain.
“I think that was decided when a couple of LIV players were actually on our tournament committee.
“If they fall out of membership, they can’t be a vice-captain or captain. That’s correct, and that’s in our regulations.
“It’s been their choice. Their choice. They made the decision. Like I said, it’s disappointing that some of them have been aggressive and almost hostile but then it was actually nice to notice a difference in their tone among the LIV players present at the Masters.
“But you still have to remember that many of them have equity in LIV and the only way that equity will build is at the detriment of the Tour that provided them with the pathway to get to LIV in the first place.
“That is something incredibly disheartening when you have some of those players saying I should be able to play (DP World Tour), as that is just not realistic.”
Thank you to Bunkered Magazine
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