According to The Times, the ruling, which follows a Sports Resolutions arbitration hearing in London in February, means the DP World Tour can now impose fines of over £100,000 in such instances in the future.
The ruling could lead to the likes of Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia to give up their DP World Tour memberships. By doing that, they would avoid the threat of sanctions and suspensions in the future.
At the same time, though, they would instantly become ineligible for future Ryder Cups in a playing capacity and, almost certainy, not be considered for the European captaincy.
According to the report, the arbitration panel’s decision is set to be announced as early as Thursday afternoon, which, of course, would coincide with the first round of The Masters.
DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley is at Augusta National along with other senior tour officials.
A spokesperson for the DP World Tour said: “Out of respect for the confidentiality of the process conducted by Sport Resolutions, we will make no comment on any aspect of the arbitration until the decision is formally announced.”
A total of 16 players teed up in the inaugural LIV Golf event at Centurion Club near St Albans last June after being lured to Greg Norman’s Saudi-backed ‘rebel’ circuit by huge sums of money.
That led to the DP World Tour imposing £100,000 fines and a suspension from the Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club the following month.
Those sanctions were then stayed after three of the players – Poulter, South African Justin Harding and Spaniard Adrian Otaegui – launched an appeal, which opened the door for them to play in the Rolex Series event in East Lothian.
Since then, LIV Golf players have been free to compete in DP World Tour events, with former Masters champion Patrick Reed, for instance, playing in both the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth last September then the Hero Dubai Desert Classic in January.
According to today’s report, fresh fines and suspensions will not be imposed on the LIV Golf players for entering conflicting events without a release between that launch event and public confirmation of the three-man arbitration panel’s verdict.
Speaking in his press conference at Augusta National on Tuesday, Rory McIlroy said he couldn’t really offer a full reaction to the report. But the four-time major winner did admit that, if it is indeed true, it “certainly changes the dynamic of everything a bit”.
A total of 18 LIV Golf players, including Garcia and five fellow former winners, are playing in the 87th edition of The Masters.
Source : TheScotsman