Why The DP World Tour 'Victory' Over LIV Golf Could Be Bad News For Fans

The DP World Tour may have won this round against LIV Golf, but it's the fans who are the biggest losers

Keith Pelley at the 2023 Abu Dhabi Championship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The outcome of the dispute over £100,000 fines and suspensions that Keith Pelley handed down to the likes of Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood for teeing it up in the inaugural LIV Golf event at the Centurion Club has been announced.

The Sports Arbitration panel has ruled in favour of the DP World Tour against LIV Golf players, but it's far too early to call this a victory, for the verdict means battles like the one between Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed at the Dubai Desert Classic will be even fewer and further between.

The Northern Irishman's duel with the controversial LIV star captivated those in attendance and tuning in around the world, and it's not often that has been said of late about an event on what was formerly the European Tour.

The steady decline of the Old World circuit has been sad to see, with the majority of the game's best players plying their trade stateside. It's always been the way but never has the balance of power felt so skewed.

There is, of course, the strategic alliance, that we're told will blossom in 2024, but its merits are a little sketchy. The Scottish Open has been given a boost in prize money and attracts a better field, but other than that, its standout feature is that the 10 best players at the end of the DP World Tour season will earn full PGA Tour cards. So the cycle repeats.

But it didn't have to be this way. LIV players remain banned from the PGA Tour and unable to earn the world ranking points they so crave. The DP World Tour could have filled that gap and eased their routes into Majors and Ryder Cups.

Rory McIlroy celebrates after winning the 2023 Dubai Desert Classic

(Image credit: Getty Images)

In return, field strengths would have increased, which would have been great for fans and surely for potential sponsors. Who wouldn’t want to watch McIlroy, the spokesperson for the traditional tours, battle it out for top honours against members of the Greg Norman-fronted venture?

That the two sides of the divide in the men's game are coming together is the main reason the upcoming Masters is one of the most highly anticipated in recent memory.

Instead, the DP World Tour has missed out on the chance to showcase the likes of Dustin Johnson, Cameron Smith, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau. Seeing a star-studded international field compete more regularly this side of the pond would have been a throwback to the days of old and a welcome change in the landscape of professional golf. 

It's unclear whether Pelley's decision to strengthen ties with Jay Monahan will pay off, but the initial signs are worrying. The Canadian has presided over arguably the most difficult period in the DP World Tour's history, and deserves huge credit for steering the ship through the pandemic and then the mess left by the inception of LIV Golf. Such things could not have been predicted and would have landed like a ton of bricks. 

But while this latest verdict might feel like a victory at Wentworth HQ, it has also confirmed the tour's status as a fully fledged feeder series, and worse still, it has robbed fans of more duels like we saw in the Dubai desert, where there was more than just silverware and prize money on the line.

Andrew Wright
Freelance News Writer

A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he decided to go freelance and now covers a variety of topics for Golf Monthly. 

Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.

As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.

What's in Andy's bag?

Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)

3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus (15°)

Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)

Irons: Mizuno mp32 (4-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)

Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x