VIRGINIA WATER, England – What had been billed as a potentially contentious convergence of professional golf’s competing factions was instead “very short,” according to DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley.
Tuesday’s players’ meeting at the BMW PGA Championship included players from the established tours as well as LIV Golf, and many anticipated the gathering could turn ugly following weeks of snipping on social media from both sides.
But by Pelley’s account it was somewhat subdued.
“There were a couple of questions from LIV players that I think we answered, and the meeting was over in a very short time,” Pelley said Wednesday at Wentworth.
According to various sources, the testiest exchange came when Sergio Garcia, who is among 18 players in this week's field who have played at least one LIV event, asked if he would be able to play on next year’s European Ryder Cup team. Garcia and the LIV players were granted a stay from suspensions and fines by a British arbiter in July, and a formal legal challenge to the sanctions is scheduled in February.
Although Pelley declined to answer specific questions about the meeting or any potential Ryder Cup status, he did cover a wide range of topics, including what he called the “LIV propaganda machine.”
“As I said to our partners and sponsors on a Zoom call last week, it is easy to get dragged down by the LIV propaganda machine, churning out negative news stories and misinformation about the poor state of the traditional golfing world, including our tour,” Pelley said. “It's just not right.”
Pelley also outlined his thoughts on the European circuit’s restructured schedule beginning in 2024, which will feature fewer events with larger purses, and the contention by some that the DP World Tour has been relegated to feeder-tour status by its strategic alliance with the PGA Tour.
“Some of these players have said we are a feeder tour, and even made a suggestion that we are headed towards being the fifth tour in the world,” Pelley said. “I'll ask you: Is this week a tournament that is on a feeder tour? A tournament that has sold-out crowds, television coverage around the world in 150 countries, five of the top 15 players in the world? A tournament with 150 accredited media?”