Sponsor of LIV Golf players Ian Poulter and McDowell suspend partnerships

Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell have become the latest LIV Golf players to face sponsorship issues due to their association with the Saudi-backed league.

Mastercard has “suspended activations” around its longtime ambassadors following their decision to join LIV Golf. They are both said to be paid millions in signing fees.

The news was first reported by Sports Business Journal. Neither Poulter, 46, nor McDowell, 42, responded. The decision would “acknowledge the uncertainties surrounding their status”.

Seth Eisen, Mastercard’s vice president of communications, said in a statement to the publication, “We appreciate the role they have played as ambassadors for Mastercard and the Tour over the past few years.”

Poulter and McDowell, two players who have made massive contributions to the Ryder Cup Europe over the years, began their relationship with Mastercard in 2009 and 2011 respectively.

Englishman Poulter took legal action last week after he was fined £100,000 and banned from three co-sanctioned events by the PGA Tour and DP World Tour.

A judge granted him a stay of proceedings, allowing the decision to be reviewed at a later date and clearing the way for him to play in the Genesis Scottish Open alongside fellow LIV Golf players Adrian Otageui, Branden Grace and Justin Harding .

All of these players played two-ball together in an apparent and deliberate move by the DP World Tour to separate them from the field.

Harding admitted it got a little awkward after he found himself in contention after the first round.

Read his comments here.

It would have sometimes been a little heated between the defectors of the LIV Golf and those who remain. Sergio Garcia was reportedly so furious that he was fined and suspended that he launched into a swearing-filled rant at BMW International in Germany.

Poulter finally suffered a humiliation in Scotland after missing the cut and finished 10-over par after shooting rounds 78-72. This let him finish 138e in the squad of 160 players of the Renaissance Club.

Speaking ahead of the tournament, he said he “had no choice” but to take legal action. “I had to appeal,” he said. I won’t sit down when I think it’s slightly unfair. He was the right thing to do.”

McDowell has resigned from his PGA Tour membership. He always said he didn’t want to be involved in litigation. He did not resign from his DP World Tour membership but claimed that the only way he would return to play was if “all be forgiven”.

Read his final thoughts here after giving an extensive interview on the LIV Golf drama.

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Next: McIlroy says there’s ‘no place for LIV Golf’ ahead of The Open

Michael C. Ford