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Ian Poulter is set to play a number of DP World Tour events over the summer as all sides await the final ruling in his legal battle against the suspension imposed on him and others who have joined LIV Golf.
All DP World Tour players who took part in the first two events on the Saudi-backed golf series schedule without permission were fined and banned from this week’s Scottish Open, as well as the Barbasol and Barracuda Championships. All PGA Tour players who joined LIV have been suspended indefinitely, ruling them out of the Scottish Open, which is co-sanctioned by the DP and PGA Tours.
However, Poulter, along with Adrian Otaegui, Justin Harding and Branden Grace, were added back to the Scottish Open field after a judge granted the rebels a stay of suspension on Monday ahead of a final ruling. As that ruling is set to take up to three months, Poulter has already started planning his summer on the DP World Tour.
He told The Telegraph: "I plan to play the Czech Open and after The Open [next week] may add in an event on the British swing [there are another four UK tournaments in a row after St Andrews]. I haven't actually sat down and worked it out yet. I'll also play the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in September."
Poulter’s plans will come as a shock to the players who have so far held firm against the mega money being offered by LIV Golf, some of whom have been very vocal in their criticism of those who have had their heads turned. But 46-year-old Poulter is not concerned over what kind of reception he will receive as he carries on playing through the summer ahead of the court judgment.
“It’s only business, right?” the Ryder Cup star told The Telegraph. “Business and personal are two completely different things. There’s going to be a few people that are extremely strong-minded about this and some of them will be my friends. We will agree to disagree but remain friends.”
As for the fans, Poulter says at the actual events they have been very supportive, a far cry from those taking to social media in outrage at those who have joined LIV Golf.
“I played in Adare on Monday and Tuesday [in the JP McManus Pro Am] and there were 40,000 fans there,” he continued. “They were incredible. Not one bit of abuse. Zero. Yes, social media has been bad because that’s their forum to hide. But to my face? Nothing.”
Speaking to The Guardian, Poulter questioned whether the decision of the DP World Tour to change tack and decide against working with LIV Golf should affect his thinking.
He said: “I feel comfortable in the position that I have always committed to the European Tour. This has always been my home tour for 24 years. Why should that change?
“It is exhausting. For you guys [in the media], for us. The bigger picture of golf is there is a level of investment coming in which is of vast amounts of money. For a period of time, the European Tour were extremely interested in doing something with that and now they are not. It was OK to work in that little ecosystem for a while because they were negotiating and now they are not. Which is sad, because there is clearly space in the calendar with the space we have.
“It is not an easy process to go through. Social media and various people’s comments make it difficult. When you have been with a tour for 24 years and never given your card up, played 389 events and been as committed to this tour as anyone – quite a few have given their card up through the years. You don’t want to feel like you have been completely pushed out.”
The next LIV Golf event will be later this month at Trump National in Bedminster, but all through August there is a break in the schedule, and it’s during that five week hiatus Poulter and others are looking to play DP World Tour events, much to the chagrin of the Tour’s Chief Executive Keith Pelley, who has expressed his disappointed at the legal challenge to his decisions to fine and ban the rebels.
Jeff graduated from Leeds University in Business Studies and Media in 1996 and did a post grad in journalism at Sheffield College in 1997. His first jobs were on Slam Dunk (basketball) and Football Monthly magazines, and he's worked for the Sunday Times, Press Association and ESPN. He has faced golfing greats Sam Torrance and Sergio Garcia, but on the poker felt rather than the golf course. Jeff's favourite course played is Sandy Lane in Barbados, which went far better than when he played Matfen Hall in Northumberland, where he crashed the buggy on the way to the 1st tee!
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