It’s not easy to understand the relationship between the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour, which in effect is operated by the European Tour. what some BetOnline customers may recognize, and what critics have pointed out, is that the PGA Tour has, in the past, enticed some of the better overseas players to come to the U.S. and compete for bigger prize money, which, when it comes down to it, is not a whole lot different than what the LIV Golf organization is doing now.
But now that there has been a “merger” of sorts, suddenly LIVE is committing a shameful act.
That’s the position as we sit.
As you know by now, the PGA Tour has issued suspensions against those players who elected to play in a LIV event. That includes Dustin Johnson, who is priced at +3000 to win the British Open at BetOnline, and Brooks Koepka (+5500), who has won four major championships.
Now the DP World Tour has joined in.
They formed an alliance with the PGA Tour in November 2020, designed to avoid having to engage in competition over top players, not to mention offering more opportunities for players with lower rankings who want to climb that PGA Tour ladder.
The Scottish Open was a major “prep” event last week, drawing players whose OWGR (Official World Golf Ranking) numbers qualified them to be there, while those who didn’t qualify may have been able to compete in the Barbasol Championship. These events were co-sponsored between the two tours. This week, even though the eyes of the world are on the British Open competition, players who couldn’t get into it might be taking part in the Barracuda Championship.
So you know that,being aligned with the PGA Tour, and with that entity enabling a mechanism by which prize money is getting a big bump overseas, the DP Tour was not going to let LIV players participate in their events if they can help it.
The commissioner of the European Tour, Keith Pelley, has not only banned LIV players from DP events, he has imposed fines upon them.
So none of the LIV competitors was supposed to be in the Scottish Open. But after an appeal, they were afforded the right to play. Greg Norman, the CEO of LIV Golf, who was basically banned from festivities surrounding the 150th anniversary of the British Open, says that his group will pay the fines and the legal fees for anybody who wants to fight back or challenge the existing hierarchy.
You can bet that a test case is on the horizon. And that LIV will have unlimited money to hire a legal team. On top of that, a wildcard has come into the mix – a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into possible antitrust violations on the part of the PGA Tour. Basically, if they can’t maintain their right to punish players for competing at an event they don’t control, they will lose players left and right.
Jay Monahan, the head of the PGA Tour, is confident that the policies that have triggered his organization’s actions will hold up under any legal scrutiny. Pelley has vowed to fight the LIV people every step of the way.
Of course, those kinds of things have a way of changing. Rory McIlroy has certainly “adjusted” his point of view. The British Open favorite at +1000 at BetOnline, he was one of those who took a very hard line as players were signed by Norman’s group, almost to the point of monotony.
But now he recognizes that LIV might be good for the game after all, and is advocating peace talks on the part of all sides, as he suggests that the PGA Tour may need to “accept and change.”
LIV’s next event is set for the end of the month in New Jersey. It’s at Donald Trump’s country club.
Oh boy, this is a long way from being over.
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