Despite being refused permission to compete by the PGA Tour, Ian Poulter admits the debut LIV Golf Invitational Series tournament had “a lot of pluses.”
Poulter joins Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, and Phil Mickelson as the most well-known players who have requested the requisite release to compete in the 54-hole event at Centurion Club, which has total prize money of £20.2 million and a winner’s purse of £3.2 million.
Members of the PGA Tour, however, were advised last week that their releases had been denied, putting them vulnerable to penalty if they play in St Albans from June 9-11.
Fines or bans from the PGA Tour and DP World Tour might jeopardise a player’s or captain’s future participation in the Ryder Cup, however, LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman has promised to “fight, compensate, and represent” any players who are sanctioned.
Regardless of how many play at Centurion Club – Richard Bland told BBC Radio Solent that he will definitely compete – Poulter said when asked whether it was a difficult decision: “It is, without a doubt, a major draw. It has numerous advantages.
“I’m going to play this week, I’m playing next week and then we will see.”
“I’m focused on playing well this week. I need to play well to get into the US Open. I’m 83 in the world and I’d love to play in the US Open (the top 60 on May 23 and June 6 qualify).
“I want to play as many tournaments as I possibly can. For me it’s simple. Play well this week, play well next week and see how potentially things pan out.
“There are so many unknowns and it’s hard to talk about unknowns.”
Asked specifically about the threat of a Ryder Cup ban, Europe’s talisman in the biennial event added: “Speculation. No one knows the ifs or buts.”
The PGA of America’s chief criticises Saudi Arabia’s ‘flawed’ breakaway league.
Seth Waugh, president and CEO of the PGA of America, reaffirmed the organization’s support for golf’s present “environment” and questioned the “flawed” framework of the Saudi-backed breakaway circuit.
The Greg Norman-led LIV Golf says its entire 14-event league was ready to go until Phil Mickelson’s comments lost him numerous sponsors and caused other players to withdraw. A shortened schedule of eight events will begin next month at Centurion Club in Hertfordshire.
“The Tour is owned by the players, and that means that everything ultimately flows back to the players, and as soon as you put any money into it, it’s going to create a need for a return, a need for exit and a lot of things that change the dynamics of it, which we don’t think is necessarily good for the ecosystem.
“I’ve lived in a world of disruption my whole life, or the whole career I should say, and it was inevitable. Golf has never been hotter in every way, from a participation standpoint, from a viewership standpoint. Golf for the first time ever is cool, and that is going to bring more and more eyeballs to it, which I think is ultimately great for the game.
“It’ll cause disruption, but the disruption is happening already internally. It’s not us, but the purses are obviously up, there’s lots of money going on, the affiliation between the European Tour and the PGA Tour is very real. So all of that disruption is kind of happening but happening internally, which we think is good.”
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