There was a gathering of players this past Tuesday at Wentworth prior to Thursday’s start of the BMW PGA Championship, the DP World Tour’s flagship event.
DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley ran the meeting. There were mostly DP World Tour players but in their midst were some of The Defectors who now serve The Infidels (aka the Saudis) on the LIV exhibition series.
Apparently the meeting was fairly subdued. Defender Of The Faith, Rory McIlroy chose not to attend the festivities.
“There were a couple of questions from LIV players that I think we answered, and the meeting was over in a very short time,” Pelley said the morning after the meeting.
According to some talking flies on the walls of said meeting, the testiest exchange came when over-the-hill Sergio Garcia asked if he would be able to play on next year’s European Ryder Cup team.
Pelley didn’t offer any comments on what was said to Garcia. But judging from the 76 Garcia shot on Thursday at Wentworth and his lackluster performance on the LIV exhibitions, Sergio’s chances of landing a spot on that Ryder Cup team are slim and none and slim has already left the building.
Garcia and his 17 LIV cronies are at Wentworth thanks to a British arbiter granting a stay from suspensions and fines on LIV players by the DP World Tour. A court hearing is slated for February of 2023. Until then, Garcia and other Defectors can show up and try for world ranking points.
One thing Pelley did comment on was what he referred to as the “LIV propaganda machine.”
Pelley stated: “As I said to our partners and sponsors on a Zoom call last week, it is easy to get dragged down by the LIV propaganda machine, churning out negative news stories and misinformation about the poor state of the traditional golfing world, including our tour. It’s just not right.”
CEO Pelley also gave his thoughts on the DP World Tour’s restructured schedule that begins in 2024. It will feature fewer events with larger purses. LIV propaganda has put out there the contention that the DP World Tour has been relegated to feeder-tour status by its strategic alliance with the PGA Tour.
“Some of these players have said we are a feeder tour, and even made a suggestion that we are headed towards being the fifth tour in the world,” Pelley said. “I’ll ask you: Is this week a tournament that is on a feeder tour? A tournament that has sold-out crowds, television coverage around the world in 150 countries, five of the top 15 players in the world? A tournament with 150 accredited media?”
In the meantime Rory focused on other business — mainly the tournament itself. McIlroy previously put out his displeasure with LIV Defectors infiltrating the tournament.
“It is what it is,” he said. “They are here. They are playing the golf tournament. My opinion is they shouldn’t be here, but again, that’s just my opinion.
“But we are all going to go play 72 holes, which is a novelty for them at this point, and then we’ll go from there.”
By day’s end on Thursday, a somber announcement spread throughout the world. Queen Elizabeth II had passed away at her Balmoral retreat in Scotland.
Play was suspended at 6:30 p.m. (London time) with players still on the course. Friday’s round was cancelled.
The Queen’s death cast total uncertainty over the tournament as the country now begins a 12-day mourning period.