The DP World Tour plays hardball with the Scottish Open

The golfing world continues to come to terms with the emergence of the LIV Golf Series, as the DP World Tour joins the PGA Tour in taking a stronger stance against the breakaway tour. In June, the PGA Tour took the step of banning 17 players following their involvement in the upstart competition, and, although the tension has primarily existed between the PGA Tour and the LIV Series, the DP World Tour has now joined the fray.

The DP World Tour, formerly known as the European Tour, is the premier golfing competition in Europe. Although prestigious in its own right, it largely plays second fiddle to the American PGA Tour. However, the pair are aligned in their stance on the LIV Series, and the DP World Tour has announced that players who competed in June’s LIV Golf event will be banned from the Scottish Open, and fined £100,000. It’s a strong punishment which, along with the PGA Tour’s decision to increase the prize money available, shows how seriously the traditional tours are taking the challenge of the upstart tournament.

The likes of Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter will be affected by the decision, as will Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, and Sergio Garcia. The Scottish Open comes immediately before the British Open, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. LIV golfers will be allowed to participate in the major but they’ll have to miss out on the preceding event, which acts as a warm-up for many. 

The Scottish Open always attracts attention and is a hit with bet exchange punters as fans wait to see who is in the best form ahead of the final major of the year. The political backdrop is only made more pertinent by the change to the Scottish Open’s status this year. The event will be co-sanctioned by both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour.

The players banned by the DP World Tour will also be unable to take part in the Barbasol and Barracuda Championships, which will also be co-sanctioned by both tours. The rules of the DP World Tour forbid the indefinite suspensions that the PGA Tour has handed out, but the combination of suspensions and £100,000 fines, hefty by the standards of golf fines, shows that the traditional tours are approaching the challenge of the LIV Series in lockstep.

Aside from its status as a warm-up event for the Open, the Scottish Open is also one of the major events of European golf, and a very lucrative tournament for the DP World Tour. With a prize fund of £6.5 million, the event will attract the likes of Justin Thomas, Scottie Scheffler, and Collin Morikawa. However, the co-sanctioning of tournaments also means more competition for places at the biggest events, and the DP World Tour will be feeling the squeeze from all sides as a result

With the threat of further suspensions a possibility, Keith Pelley, the DP World Tour chief executive made it clear that further punishments may follow. “Every action anyone takes in life comes with a consequence and it is no different in professional sport, especially if a person chooses to break the rules. That is what has occurred here with several of our members,” he stated.

“Many members I have spoken to in recent weeks expressed the view that those who have chosen this route have not only disrespected them and our Tour, but also the meritocratic ecosystem of professional golf that has been the bedrock of our game for the past half a century and which will also be the foundation upon which we build the next 50 years.”

The PGA Tour set their stall out early, in their approach to the LIV Golf Series, and the DP World Tour have shown a willingness to take the approach, with the possibility of harsher fines for golfers who continues to play on the breakaway tour. However, whether it works remains to be seen. 

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