The BMW PGA Championship kicks off at Wentworth this week, with plenty of LIV Golf defectors on the course.
Prior to the inaugural LIV Golf event at the Centurion Club in June, several DP World Tour members requested to be released to participate. These were refused and those who subsequently competed were handed a three-tournament ban and a £100,000 fine.
Ian Poulter, Justin Harding and Adrian Otaegui launched a legal challenge which resulted in the suspension being “temporarily suspended” – allowing the players to start on the tour again. In addition to this, a temporary legal injunction was placed on the DP World Tour which prevented it from suspending its rebel members pending the outcome of a hearing; would have been set for February 2023.
LIV golfers can therefore take advantage of their exemption categories and participate in the flagship event this week at Wentworth, but apparently at a price. Last week, DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley said LIV players would not receive a “competitive disadvantage” but would be excluded from the celebrity pro-am, encouraged not to wear LIV golf apparel and would not be included in TV groups.
Tensions escalated further after several LIV members including Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia reportedly flew in for the DP World Tour AGM at Wentworth headquarters yesterday. Players were said to be seeking clarification on the Tour’s strategic alliance with the PGA Tour, as well as any other penalties that may befall them after signing up for the series, it appears this is not the case.
Tensions between LIV Golf members and the DP World Tour proved too much for Ryder Cup hero Martin Kaymer. The German, who has competed in three LIV Golf events, withdrew from the BMW PGA Championship after insisting: “I don’t need to go somewhere where, from a feel point of view, you don’t ‘re not welcome.” Jason Kokrak also withdrew from the event.
New FedEx Cup champion Rory McIlroy will headline the Surrey field but insisted ‘it’s going to be hard to stomach’ seeing them [LIV Golf defectors] the. US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick described their participation as “a little bizarre and, obviously, a little disappointing”.
Emotions and talk of legal action will be temporarily penned down as the 68th edition of the BMW PGA Championship gets underway, where the following 17 LIV golfers are included in the field:
LIV Golf Players on the BMW PGA Championship Course
- Abraham Ancer
- Richard Bland
- Laurie Canter
- Sergio Garcia
- Talor Gooch
- Branden Grace
- Justin Harding
- Sam Horsfield
- Pablo Larrazabal
- Graeme Mcdowell
- Shaun Norris
- Wade Ormsby
- Adrian Otaegui
- Ian Poulter
- Patrick Roseau
- Lee Westwood
- Bernd Wiesberger