No Scots facing DP World Tour ban over $25m LIV Golf event

No Scottish player requested a release from the DP World Tour to try and secure a chunk of the $25 million up for grabs in the first of Greg Norman’s LIV Golf events next month.

Greg Norman is the CEO and Commissioner of LIV Golf, which is being backed by Saudi Arabia. Picture: Oisin Keniry/Getty Images.
Greg Norman is the CEO and Commissioner of LIV Golf, which is being backed by Saudi Arabia. Picture: Oisin Keniry/Getty Images.

A total of 12 Scots currently hold full DP World Tour cards, made up of a combination of seasoned campaigners and a new wave of tartan talent led by Bob MacIntyre.

However, despite officials of the DP World Tour refusing to comment, Scotland on Sunday understands that none of those players applied to be released for the inaugural money-spinning LIV Golf tournament at Centurion Club near St Albans.

It means that no player currently flying the Saltire at the top level of the game on this side of the Atlantic is facing either a possible fine or ban for teeing up on Norman’s Saudi-backed breakaway circuit without permission.

Englishman Richard Bland, last year’s Betfred British Masters champion, has indicated that he’ll be playing in the event, with a number of his compatriots, including Lee Westwood, also reported to have been among those seeking a release.

In wider terms, Spaniard Sergio Garcia and Germany’s Martin Kaymer have also been linked with the event, as have former Open champions Phil Mickelson and Louis Oosthuizen.

“I think the Scottish guys on the tour at the moment are happy,” one of the DP World Tour card holders, who asked not to be named, told Scotland on Sunday.

“We’re playing for a minimum of $2 million in events this season and we’ve got some tournaments that are now co-sanctioned with the PGA Tour, with more of them coming.”

Referring to the fact that the LIV Golf events are being tagged as “sportswashing” by Saudi Arabia, he added of the united stance by the Scots: “As a country, it looks good morally

and, certainly in its infancy, I think that’s a good thing.

“But that’s not to say that people might not get their heads turned somewhere down the line over this and I’m not going to speak badly of anyone if they do go.

“I think players are being cagey at the moment due to what the repercussions are going to be, especially the younger boys.”

MacIntyre, Scotland’s top-ranked professional, said recently that he had no interest in the LIV Golf events, echoing leading players like Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Collin Morikawa in shunning the Saudis.

“There's crazy, crazy money getting thrown at it,” said MacIntyre of eight events this year offering a total prize pot of $225m. “If you ask me, it's obscene money to be throwing

at sport. There's only so much money that a human needs.”

The winner at the Centurion Club on 9-11 June will pick up $4 million while even the last-placed finisher in the 48-man field stands to earn around $120,000.

“I’m sick of hearing about it, to be quite honest,” said another of the Scottish players on the DP World Tour. “I never asked for a release. Firstly, because I’m not interested and,

secondly, I never thought I’d get a start anyway.

“Half of me totally understands what the DP World Tour and PGA Tour have done because, by the sounds of it, there wouldn’t be a place for a lot of people if LIV Golf took over the

game.

“It’s effectively for 48 golfers and that’s about it. Guys like me wouldn’t have a job or an opportunity to play and it would be pretty tough to make a living.

“But, while I’m not supporting the Saudis in any shape or form, they sponsor so many female golfers, including through the Aramco Series, yet in men’s golf the world’s gone a bit

nuts about it.”

Part of that confusion appears to stem from the Saudis and LIV Golf seeming intent on creating a new infrastructure/ecosystem rather than try and operate within the existing one despite claims to the contrary.

A third Scottish player admitted he’d given consideration to requesting a release due to the huge amount of money up for grabs before deciding it wasn’t worth risking his tour card.

He said: “It’s a tough one because, if you go, you don’t know what is going to happen to you. The unknown is difficult.

“Personally, I didn’t think I’d get into any of the tournaments so I didn’t ask for a release. If I thought I was going to get in, would I look at it? Yeah, I probably would as the

money is life-changing. If you finish third and did well in the team event, it would be a hefty chunk of my career earnings.

“Would I think about playing in a one-off event? Yes. Would I think about joining a different tour? That’s a different matter.

“If you are Richard Bland, it’s a no-brainer. But, if you are Bob MacIntyre, it’s also pretty easy to make the decision he’s made. If you are in the middle, where I am, that’s where

you can have a problem.”

In another show of support for the established tours, it is also believed no Scot has applied to play in the LIV Golf International Series event at Slaley Hall at the beginning of

next month. Part of the Asian Tour, it carries a $2m prize fund.

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