Sport Resolution UK released on Thursday its ruling in the arbitration dispute between the DP World Tour and a group of members who joined LIV Golf.
The players, which included Ian Poulter, Adrian Otaegui and Justin Harding, were originally fined £100,000 for participating in the first LIV event last year in London and barred from playing the Scottish Open, which is co-sanctioned with the PGA Tour. Those fines and any other sanctions were stayed by a court until the closed-door arbitration hearing in February.
The 90-page ruling upheld the DP World Tour’s ability to enforce its conflicting event release regulations and sanction players who violate those policies.
“We welcome the decision by Sports Resolution, and we really are delighted that they have recognized the responsibility that we have as an organization to administer our rules and regulations,” DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley said.
Unlike the PGA Tour, which suspended players who violated its conflicting event release policies by playing the LIV tournaments, the European circuit was limited in how much they could sanction their members and Pelley explained that they have no plans to ban the members who joined LIV. Instead, he said the tour will focus on the next steps in the process.
“We are going to take this one day at a time, one case at a time,” Pelley said. “We are going to look at every case individually and we are going to look at if it is a material breach and what we think is fair and proportionate for that. We thought 100,000 [pounds], and the sanctions were [in] proportion for the [the first LIV event].”
Sport Resolution ruled that those players who violated the European circuit’s policies have 30 days to pay their fines, but it was unclear whether those players could appeal the ruling.
“We disagree with the procedural opinion from the DP World Tour’s arbitral body, which has failed to address in reasonable substance why competitive forces must be upheld. By punishing players for playing golf, the DPWT is seeking to unreasonably control players and it is the sport and fans that suffer. There are no winners,” said Matthew Schwartz, an attorney for LIV Golf.
“This is a sacred week in the global sports calendar and the on-course competition is what matters. LIV remains focused on its decades-long vision to enhance the game and is looking forward to its upcoming tournament in Australia in front of 70,000 fans.”
Pelley was also asked how the ruling could impact the Ryder Cup, both this year’s matches and in the future.
“In order to qualify for the Ryder Cup, you have to be European and you have to be a member of the DP World Tour and if you are, you [can] qualify through one of the six spots, or if [European captain] Luke Donald selects one of the six players,” Pelley said. “It will be more difficult for them depending on what other sanctions that we impose on them to qualify for the Ryder Cup.
“If they qualify for the Ryder Cup, then they can play on the Ryder Cup, but I think it will be difficult for them to do so.”
Pelley added that three players who joined LIV Golf – Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer – can never be European Ryder Cup captains after failing to play the minimum number of events on the DP World Tour last year.