Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia have been stripped of their Ryder Cup careers following a failed arbitration case concerning the LIV Golf rebels against the DP World Tour. The verdict, reached by a retired high court judge, came out before Thursday’s announcement ahead of the 87th Masters and now leaves the trio wondering what their next move should be. This ruling means it is highly unlikely that their legacies on the tour where they achieved so many milestones will be seen in a Ryder Cup setting again.
Rory McIlroy, the current world No 2, said, “If that is the outcome, then that certainly changes the dynamic of everything.” Westwood discovered the news himself on Tuesday morning by text. The officials of the DP World Tour were within their rights to punish players on the breakaway series who ignored chief executive Keith Pelley’s warning not to take part in the £20 million St Albans event backed by Saudi Arabia in June. These suspensions and fines included $100,000 for each player, along with the three tournament bans, all of which were later stayed when players like Poulter were granted an injunction to play in the Scottish Open in July.
The rebels have been allowed to play in DP World Tour events since then, yet the ultimate result has spelled the end of their involvement in the Ryder Cup. They may seek recourse, but could ultimately just choose to walk away, leaving their mark on the tour and the European Ryder Cup team. Any future action will have to go through avenues such as the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, although at present the rebels are yet to give any indication as to what the next step might be. The outcome has changed the dynamic of the appeals process significantly, as it seems to now prevent the possibility of players like Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka appearing in events on the European tour. The company behind this, LIV Golf, has seen their hope of victory crushed, leaving their CEO Greg Norman feeling defeated.
The DP World Tour issued a prepared statement saying they would refrain from additonal comment until the decision has been officially announced. It looks likely that Lee Westwood and his cohorts have played their last competitive European Tour tournaments and will have to accept their legacy will be remembered outwith a Ryder Cup setting.