Keith Pelley’s forceful response to criticism of LIV Golf

Keith Pelley, Executive Director of the DP World Tour © Golffile | Fran Caffrey Keith Pelleyexecutive direct

Keith Pelley, Executive Director of the DP World Tour © Golffile | Fran Caffrey

Keith Pelleyexecutive director of DP World Tourhas issued a statement this Friday in which it charges harshly against the players who have gone to LIV Golf. This is a counterattack to a letter written by the golfers themselves who signed with the Saudi league, where they have complained about the decision of the European Tour to sanction the ‘rebels’.

“A letter we have received on behalf of various LIV Golf players has been leaked to the media containing so many inaccuracies that it cannot go unanswered.

Before joining LIV Golf, players knew there would be consequences if they chose money over competition. Many of them understood and accepted it at the time. In fact, as one player named in the letter said in a media interview earlier this year: ‘If I get banned, I get banned.’ It is not credible that some are now surprised by the measures we have taken.

The letter states that these players “care a lot” about the DP World Tour. An analysis of the participation statistics on our Tour in recent years of several of the main named players, suggests otherwise.

One of the players mentioned in the note has only played six Rolex Series events in the last five years. Another, only four. I wish a lot of them had been as interested in playing on our Tour then as they seem to be now, based on the fact that they have relinquished their PGA TOUR membership or, if they are still members, have been suspended indefinitely.

Also, given how much these players say they care about the DP World Tour, perhaps some of them could have played in Ireland this week in support of our new title sponsor, in particular a player who gave us a signed commitment to play at Mount Juliet.

With that player currently in action at Pumpkin Ridge, you can imagine the claim that we’re wrong is hard to swallow.

We are also very bothered by the accusation at the end of the letter that we are somehow being ‘second fiddle’ to the PGA TOUR. Nothing is further from reality.

On Tuesday, we held a players’ meeting in Ireland where we explained in great detail the many benefits of our expanded relationship with the PGA TOUR.

One of them is the unprecedented offer of ten cards for the PGA TOUR, cards that many of the players mentioned in this letter desperately wanted to get in the early stages of their careers. Why criticize now those who try to do the same?

The letter also expresses alleged concern about the future of the DP World Tour. Rest assured that no one should have any concern about it.

The DP World Tour is a vibrant, independent, global tour with guaranteed growing prize pool growth over the next five years. We have fantastic tournaments throughout the year, including a host of wonderful National Opens, all played to huge crowds, perfectly illustrated by this week’s Horizon Irish Open.

Lastly, it would not be appropriate for you not to comment on a legal matter. I reiterate that our Membership Regulations, which have been in place for more than 30 years, have been accepted by all players, are there to protect all our members, and we will use them to take all necessary measures to protect their interests.

The sanctions for those members who knowingly broke our rules by playing at Club Centurion without a permit are proportionate, fair and, I believe, considered necessary by the majority of our members.”