Scottish Open: DP World Tour bans members for Renaissance Club event who have joined LIV Golf

LIV Golf players who are members of the DP World Tour have been banned from playing in the upcoming Genesis Scottish Open in East Lothian.

The Scottish Open takes place at the Renaissance Club next month.
The Scottish Open takes place at the Renaissance Club next month.

The players, who include former winners Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer, have also been fined £100,000 for playing in the breakaway Saudi-backed circuit’s opening $25 million event.

DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said: “Every action anyone takes in life comes with a consequence and it is no different in professional sport, especially if a person chooses to break the rules. That is what has occurred here with several of our members.

“Many members I have spoken to in recent weeks expressed the viewpoint that those who have chosen this route have not only disrespected them and our tour, but also the meritocratic ecosystem of professional golf that has been the bedrock of our game for the past half a century and which will also be the foundation upon which we build the next 50 years.

“Their actions are not fair to the majority of our membership and undermine the tour, which is why we are taking the action we have announced today.”

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The likes of Westwood, Kaymer and former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen played in Greg Norman’s LIV Golf event at Centurion Club near St Albans despite not having received releases to allow them to do so.

In doing so, they contravened a “conflicting event regulation W laid down in the Members’ General Regulations Handbook.

The move also ignored a “code of behaviour regulation”, which, according to the DP World Tour, the members had reminded on a number of recent occasions.

Money raised from the £100,000 fines will be shared equally in two distinct ways.

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Firstly, it will be added to prize funds of upcoming tournaments on the DP World Tour, to the benefit of members of the DP World Tour who have complied with the release rules.

Secondly, it will be distributed through the Tour’s Golf for Good programme to deserving charitable causes in the communities that the DP World Tour play.

In addition to the Genesis Scottish Open, which is being co-sanctioned with the PGA Tour for the first time, players have also been banned from playing in the Barbasol Championship (July 7-10) and the Barracuda Championship (July 14-17).

Both on the US circuit, they are also co-sanctioned events as part of the strategic alliance between the DP World Tour and PGA Tour.

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“It is important to note that participation in a further conflicting tournament or tournaments without the required release may incur further sanctions,” stated a DP World Tour press release.

The news isn’t as big a blow to the Genesis Scottish Open as might appear to be the case.

That’s because the posse of big names confirmed for the $8 million Rolex Series event at The Renaissance Club are unaffected by the move due to the fact they are not LIV Golf players.

World No 1 and Masters champion Scottie Scheffler spearheads a field that includes all four current major champions.

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Open champion Collin Morikawa was among the first players to commit to the event on Scotland’s Golf Coast, where he will also be joined by PGA winner Justin Thomas and newly-crowned US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick.

Others set to tee up on 7-10 July include Olympic champion Xander Schuffele, three-time major winner Jordan Spieth and FedEx Cup champion Patrick Cantlay.

Four-time major champion Brooks Koepka had been announced as well in recent weeks, but he has since become LIV Golf’s most recent signing.

Former Scottish Open champion Phil Mickelson has also signed up for Norman’s circuit, which stages its second event in Portland, Oregon, next week.

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Major winners Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed will both be making their LIV Golf debuts in that tournament.

The PGA Tour suspended 17 members who played at Centurion Club, with the same action likely to be taken against players who defect to LIV Golf going forward.

Speaking this week, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan described what he called the Saudi Golf League as “an irrational threat”.