The DP World Tour officially has the right to sanction players who have decided to participate in tournaments organized by Liv, the golf Super League financed with unlimited money from Saudi Arabia. It is the official decision of the English arbitration which rejected the players’ appeals and agreed with the European Tour.
This leaves the fines that must be paid immediately.
Liv was born a year ago: tournaments with a small field (only 48 players), no cut, therefore guaranteed prizes for everyone, monstrous prize money of 25 million per match, bonuses at the time of signing the contract, even hundreds of millions.
Many players had been convinced by the checks. In America Phil Mickelson was the first, followed by Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed. Among the Europeans, the veterans above all imitated him at the beginning, people over 40 and with little competitive future ahead: Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter.
The most painful tear was that of Henrik Stenson who, after becoming captain of the Ryder Cup, signed with the Arabs, getting paid his weight in gold, and forcing the European Tour to take away his role. Pga and DpWorld had reacted harshly: either with us or against us, while the “rebels” would have liked to continue playing both in the traditional Tour and with Liv.
But while in America the right of the PGA to exclude those who had crossed over to the other side was clarified immediately, in Europe the arbitration decision came months later. Keith Pelley, CEO of the DpWorld, exulted: “Our rights have been fully recognized.
The Panel recognized that we have a responsibility to protect our members and that all decisions were correct. The sanctions we established last June were correct. Now we can think about the future”. What will happen now? Players who switched to Liv will probably resign from the European Tour to avoid paying fines or in any case having to submit to other decisions.
Thus they will lose the right to play tournaments on the Tour and will no longer be eligible for the Ryder Cup. The European Tour meanwhile will continue its alliance policy with the PGA. How much good it could do him is unknown, given the difference in economic availability with the Americans, but now that the legal aspect of the dispute with Liv has been settled, everything can be done more clearly.
Who is on one side and who is on the other. The only tournaments they will participate in together will be the Majors, like the Masters which starts today. But those who have chosen Liv will find it increasingly difficult to qualify because Liv races do not award – at the moment – points for the world rankings and therefore perhaps the arbitration decision could now hold back those who are thinking of switching to Liv.