The independent UK-based tribunal of Sports Resolutions ruled in favor of the DP World Tour on Thursday, allowing it to ban and punish LIV Golf players who participated in competing tournaments without authorization.
The European Tour’s DP World Tour competitors who competed in the inaugural event of the Saudi-sponsored LIV Golf Series last June requested an exemption for “conflicting events,” but their request was granted, and they were given three-event bans and penalties.
The fines were put on hold as Ian Poulter, Adrian Otaegui, and Justin Harding filed an appeal against the judgment. This enabled The players to continue participating on the DP World Tour without suffering a penalty.
The number of appellants rose to 16, but before the five-day Sports Resolutions hearing in February, Sergio Garcia, Charl Schwartzel, Branden Grace, and Otaegui withdrew.
The appeals panel said on Thursday that the sanctioned players “committed major violations” of the DP World Tour rules by participating in LIV tournaments while having their release requests denied.
The ruling may result in Ryder Cup suspensions for Lee Westwood, Poulter, and Garcia, which might have significant repercussions.
The statement said, “The appeals were denied, and each of the appellants was compelled to pay the 100,000 pound ($124,540.00) fine initially assessed by (the DP World Tour).”
The panel concluded that the chief executive of the DP World Tour, Keith Pelley, “behaved quite properly in declining releases” and that the requirements “cannot be claimed to go beyond what is essential and appropriate to the (DP World Tour’s) ongoing functioning as a professional golf circuit.”
Pelley approved of the choice.
We are happy that the panel acknowledged we had a duty to our whole membership to do this and also found that the procedure we used was fair and appropriate, the official added.
“In determining the severity of these fines in June, we were only enforcing the rules that our members had established and to which they had all agreed.”
With a decision made public shortly after play concluded in the prestigious breakaway series’ first event in June, the PGA Tour punished players who competed in the LIV Golf tournament and warned that anybody else who made the same leap would also be subject to suspension.
According to critics, Saudi Arabia is using the $255 million LIV series as a means of trying to boost its reputation in response to criticism of its record on human rights.