On Sunday at East Lake, Rory McIlroy – the most high-profile and outspoken advocate of the PGA Tour – painted a vivid picture of the anticipated vibe at next week’s BMW PGA Championship on the DP World Tour.
“I hate what it's doing to the game of golf. I hate it. I really do. Like it's going to be hard for me to stomach going to Wentworth in a couple of weeks' time and seeing 18 of them there. That just doesn't sit right with me,” McIlroy said after winning the Tour Championship.
The “18” are players who have competed in LIV Golf events, the Saudi-back league that’s being led by Greg Norman. Those who have joined LIV have been suspended by the PGA Tour, but the European circuit is allowing players to compete pending a “full legal hearing” next February in the United Kingdom.
In a memo sent to players Tuesday, DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley addressed what he called “strong opposition” to having the LIV players in the field at Wentworth, which is the circuit’s flagship event.
“They will not be given any on course competitive disadvantage – i.e. unfavorable tee times – but they will not be required to play in the pro-am on Wednesday and will not be in TV featured groups,” the memo read.
The memo also asked LIV players to refrain from wearing LIV-logoed apparel.
Sports Resolutions UK “stayed” any suspensions for three players, including Ian Poulter, on July 4 prior to the Genesis Scottish Open until the full hearing next year. Until then, the LIV players will be able to participate in DP World Tour events and earn points toward Ryder Cup qualification, according to Tuesday’s memo. The European Ryder Cup qualification process for next year’s team begins at the BMW PGA.