Suspensions Cause Uproar Amongst Several LIV Players

LIV, Patrick Reed,(Photo by Chris Trotman/LIV Golf/via Getty Images)
LIV, Patrick Reed,(Photo by Chris Trotman/LIV Golf/via Getty Images) /

The DP World Tour sent a letter to several news outlets detailing that DP World Tour golfers participating in LIV events without releases will be suspended.

They sent it for clarification because, in their opinion, so many inaccuracies had been printed.

In the letter, according to CNN, DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley wrote:

"“Before joining LIV Golf, players knew there would be consequences if they chose money over competition. Many of them at the time understood and accepted that,” Pelley said.“Indeed, as one player named in the letter said in a media interview earlier this year; ‘If they ban me, they ban me.’ It is not credible that some are now surprised with the actions we have taken.”"

Last week Pelley suspended players who participated in the LIV London contest from the Genesis Scottish Open, the Barbasol Championship, and the Barracuda Championship.

This action follows the lead of the PGA Tour which continues to suspend its players and former players as they tee it up in LIV events.

At the time of the first suspensions, Pelley stated, “Their actions are not fair to the majority of our membership and undermine the Tour, which is why we are taking the action we have announced today.”

Then 16 players, including Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood, sued the DP World Tour.

Pelley indicated he will continue to sanction players who participate in future LIV events if those events conflict with European Tour events.

It seems, based on what the LIV players said earlier this week, and by the nature of filing a lawsuit, that the defectors are confused about or ignorant regarding how the PGA Tour and European Tour work.

As a result, the LIV players show all the signs of people who have been spoon-fed money for decades without a thought as to where it comes from and how hard other people are working to provide it to them.   Here’s what they fail to appreciate.

The reason that both tours require releases from members who want to play in conflicting events is actually to benefit all the players financially.

The way both tours receive money to pay purses is through business sponsorship of tournaments and television deals with some help from on-site hospitality.

And yet, like social butterflies, the LIV players don’t want to hear that or do that.

They want to flit here and flit there and cherry-pick the events that suit them anywhere.

“I have not resigned my PGA Tour membership,” Bryson DeChambeau said in Portland before the LIV exhibition.

"“I want to play the PGA Tour. It’s not my decision for me if I can or can’t play, but I would love to continue to play.”"

How does he not understand it is absolutely his decision to play or not play the PGA Tour? He has just decided, by his actions, not to play it.

The man is a physics major. He can’t be that dumb. A cursory read of the PGA Tour Handbook indicates what the players’ responsibilities are. He just wants to do what he wants to do. And that apparently extends to ranking points.

"“You have the Hero World Challenge, and they have ranking points there,” he said. “Why can’t we have the same, too, you know?”"

LIV, Bryson DeChambeau, Lee Westwood, DP World Tour, Martin Kaymer, Patrick Reed
LIV, Bryson DeChambeau, (Photo by Jamie Squire/LIV Golf via Getty Images) /

Hey, Bryson!  It’s Tiger Woods.  The man is tied as the winner of the most PGA Tour events ever and is the winner of 15 majors, and he has given 25 years of his life to the PGA Tour. Martin Kaymer also wants it his way.

"“Me as a German, obviously I’m going to play all the German events and a bunch of the tournaments that I really liked in the past, that I always wanted to win in my career, and I don’t see a reason why we should be not capable of playing those tournaments,”"

Kaymer said at the Portland LIV exhibition.

Guess what? Kaymer just found out that it’s not possible for him to do that anymore or not while he’s participating in LIV.

LIV, Bryson DeChambeau, Lee Westwood, DP World Tour, Martin Kaymer, Patrick Reed
LIV, Martin Kaymer, (Photo by Chris Trotman/LIV Golf/via Getty Images) /

Like DeChambeau, Kaymer apparently does not understand the responsibility involved with being a member of an organization.  Neither does Lee Westwood.

“I’ve been a European Tour member for 29 years,” Westwood said earlier this week in Portland.

"“And a lot of those years I’ve also been a member of the PGA TOUR, as well, and the European Tour, as long as I’ve played before, have never had any problems with me playing anywhere else, and now it seems to be a problem.”"

It’s a problem because it’s a business conflict. Westwood wants to play eight events that conflict with the DP World Tour and PGA Tour schedules. He will want more next year.

Pat Perez was more vocal, and blunt, which is no surprise to anyone.  And there’s nothing wrong with him speaking his mind.

“You want to be able to play anywhere you want. And you should be able to play wherever you want. We should be able to do whatever we want. We are independent contractors,” he said before playing in Portland.

Guess again.  He’s not an independent contractor anymore.  He’s likely considered the way NFL players are considered.

He’s now a salaried employee of the Saudis. His independent contractor status could be gone.  But of course, he’ll have to check with his tax advisor.

For those who are interested in getting into the weeds on all this, there are reasons for the conflicting event rules, just as there are rules for the number of tournaments players must play, which in the case of the US, it’s 15, and in the case of Europe, it’s just four.

The only reason any of the players get any money for playing golf on a regular basis is that their professional organizations, their tours, find ways to raise it for them.

They work hard to make other people rich.  Arnold Palmer never forgot that. Neither did Jack Nicklaus.

“You want to be able to play anywhere you want. And you should be able to play wherever you want. We should be able to do whatever we want. We are independent contractors,” Patrick Reed said before playing in Portland.

Any tour these days needs sponsors for tournaments, golfers to play in them, and in the era of broadcast media, they need television outlets for the tournaments. Yes, there are other things, too, but those are the three big items.

For the broadcasters to want to televise, because it’s expensive to do that, they need to know, within some parameters, who will be in the tournament, where it will be played, and how long it will last.  (I used to know the costs when I did some golf television production, but that was back in the late 1980s, and it’s certainly gone up exponentially since then.)

Network television, even Golf Channel, has certain standards for what they will show. For example, they don’t want you and me and 154 of our best friends to hack it around on the nearest goat track.

They want some kind of high-level competition at a nice facility with maybe some golf history, like The Old Course at St. Andrews or Pebble Beach or TPC Sawgrass.

Because golf has never had the TV ratings of football or basketball, in the early days of the PGA Tour, at least, it was quite a hard sell to get tournaments on television.

In fact, it was such a hard sell that the only way the PGA Tour got televised at all was that the tournaments came pre-sold to the networks.  They were pre-sold because of tournament sponsors.

Because the events were pre-sold, television networks were guaranteed a specific amount of money for showing the telecasts for a certain number of weeks in a year.

That guarantee allowed the networks to pay the PGA Tour a rights fee.  That rights fee then got distributed, to players and to pay the PGA Tour for the cost of running events and having a staff that organized them.

It works the same way today, more or less.  It’s more people, but those are the basic moving parts of the tournament side of the PGA Tour.

There’s also a charity component to the PGA Tour (and one presumes to the DP World Tour).

Many times, corporations only sponsor a golf tournament because of the charitable impact it will have on a particular community, such as the FedEx St. Jude tournament which benefits St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis where FedEx is headquartered.

This process is repeated all over the US, probably all over Europe as well as on other tours around the world.

Despite that, two LIV-ers, Pat Perez and Patrick Reed have complained, in their Portland press conferences, that they had to play too often to earn and keep up in FedEx points on the PGA Tour.

They forgot to count the cash that FedEx has already put in their wallets. They needed to remember that if they want to get paid as much as these guys get paid.

Now, an important part of television is not abusing the rights of the players.

Whether it’s the NFL, the NBA, or the PGA Tour, the organization employees or members need to sign their broadcast rights for certain events to the organization so that it can negotiate the rights fees for all players.

That’s how they get cash for the purses, or at least part of the purses. That’s an oversimplification of how it works.  But it covers the basics.

No one makes any golfer join a tour.  But the membership of the tour can make its own rules for membership, and they have.

Members can leave at any time, and some of them have done so. But if they leave, they shouldn’t complain about it, given the fact that they were willing participants and made millions.

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When it comes down to it, comments and complaints of the LIV-ers show them to be self-centered and spoiled.  Do they think fans feel sorry for multi-millionaires?

It’s as Scottie Scheffler said at Travelers,

"“I don’t know how much money I’ve made this year, but it’s definitely more than I deserve for whacking a little white golf ball around.”"

One golfer at least has his head on straight.