It threatened to get nasty and now it has as Keith Pelley responds to a threatening letter from LIV Golf stars including Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood

It’s been another dramatic 24 hours in the ongoing saga between LIV golfers and the DP World Tour, with the two now set to look horns in an intense legal battle over their participation on the circuit.

It was initially reported by The Telegraph that 16 LIV rebels – including Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood – would be threatening legal action against the DP World Tour after being punished for participating in the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational. Sanctions consisted of £100,000 fines and bans from three events – including the Scottish Open.

In a fiery letter sent to DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley, the players called on the organisation to revoke the penalties and collaborate on “forging a path” which is best for “the game of golf”.

The letter read: “We ask that you rescind your fines and suspensions by 5pm on Friday, July 1, 2022. If not, you will leave us with no choice but to employ the various other means and methods at our disposal to rectify these wrongs.”

The 16 players also questioned the strategic alliance made between the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, arguing it leaves the latter playing “second fiddle” to its US counterpart.

Less than 24 hours later, Pelley has then hit back with a statement of his own, slamming the “inaccuracies” detailed in the letter while insisting the sanctions were “fair” and “necessary”.

The statement read: “There has been a leak to the media of a letter we received on behalf of a number of LIV Golf players which contains so many inaccuracies that it cannot remain unchallenged.

“Before joining LIV Golf, players knew there would be consequences if they chose money over competition. It is not credible that some are now surprised with the actions we have taken.

“The letter claims that these players ‘care deeply’ for the DP World Tour. An analysis of the past participation statistics on our Tour in recent years of several of the leading players named, suggests otherwise.”

A seemingly incensed Pelley then turned his attention to defending the ‘strategic alliance’ made between his circuit and the PGA Tour, before further defending the sanctions once again.

“We also take great exception to an allegation made near the end of the letter which states we are somehow playing ‘second fiddle’ to the PGA Tour. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“We held a player meeting in Ireland on Tuesday where we outlined in great detail all the many benefits of our expanded relationship with the PGA Tour. One of those is an unprecedented ten cards on offer to the PGA Tour, cards that many of the players named in this letter desperately wanted to attain in the early stages of their careers. Why now be critical of those trying to do the same?

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

A legal battle now seems destined with neither side refusing to back down. The ball is now back over to the LIV rebels as they tee up in Portland for the second LIV Golf Invitational.

Buckle up!

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George Cooper

A golf fanatic his entire life, George Cooper is NCG's man for all goings-on at the top level of the game, whether it's the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA or LIV Golf. He also looks after NCG's Twitter and Facebook accounts. George is a member of Woburn, but is not friends with Ian Poulter.

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