LIV Golf quartet Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Richard Bland have resigned their memberships on the DP World Tour.
Their decision to tear up their DP World Tour membership means they will no longer have any involvement in the European Ryder Cup team.
All four players were sanctioned for serious breaches of the DP World Tour's 'conflicting tournament regulations' committed last June when they competed in the very first LIV Golf tournament at Centurion Club in England.
In a statement which you can read in full further down in this article, the DP World Tour made it clear "their resignations are a consequence of their own choices."
A number of DP World Tour players had asked for tournament releases to participate in the first LIV Golf tournament.
LIV Golf is bankrolled by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund. The wealth fund has already invested more than $2bn into the golf league.
The tournament releases were swiftly denied and players were handed £100,000 fines and banned from three co-sanctioned PGA Tour events.
That decision was 'stayed' pending a private, sports arbitration hearing in London.
On 6 April - the first day of the 2023 Masters - the panel's ruling was made official.
Mail Sport recently reported that all LIV Golf players could now face the prospect of being fined up to £1m.
But in order to avoid the threat of future sanctions, hefty fines and suspensions on the DP World Tour, the quartet of LIV Golf's Garcia, Westwood, Poulter and Bland have decided to tear up their memberships of the former European Tour circuit.
It remains to be seen how many more LIV Golf players holding DP World Tour memberships decide to do the same. It sounds as though more information will be made available over the next 24 hours.
Westwood won 25 times on the European Tour, ranking him eighth in the all-time winners list. The legendary English golfer won his first European Tour title at the 1996 Volvo Scandinavian Masters and his last at the 2020 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. Westwood also won the Order of Merit / Race to Dubai three times in 2000, 2009 and 2020.
Garcia won 16 times on the European Tour, winning his first title at the 1999 Murphy's Irish Open and his last at the 2019 KLM Open. Garcia famously won the 2017 Masters Tournament and he also won the Andalucia Masters a record three times in 2011, 2017 and 2018, which marked three consecutive years in the staging of the tournament.
BREAKING: Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Richard Bland have all resigned their DP World Tour memberships with immediate effect, making them ineligible to compete in September's Ryder Cup. pic.twitter.com/sat1A0FEH5— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) May 3, 2023
Poulter won plenty of times, too, with 12 victories on the DP World Tour. The fiery Englishman won his first title at the 2000 Italian Open and his last at the 2012 WGC-HSBC Champions.
Fellow Englishman Bland had been something of a journeyman pro on the DP World Tour but he re-wrote the record books at the age of 48 when becoming the oldest first-time winner on the circuit with victory at the 2021 Betfred British Masters.
All four players will now be ineligible to compete in the European Ryder Cup team moving forwards as they are no longer members of the DP World Tour.
Poulter, Westwood and Garcia have played in 28 Ryder Cup matches between them, with all three of them proving huge successes in the side down the years.
Garcia remains the all-time top European points scorer with 28.5 pts.
In a press release sent to GolfMagic following their resignations, the DP World Tour issued the following statement.
"Their resignations, however, along with the sanctions imposed upon them, are a consequence of their own choices.
"As we have consistently maintained throughout the past year, the Tour has a responsibility to its entire membership to administer the member regulations which each player signs up to. These regulations are in place to protect the collective interests of all DP World Tour members.
"The independent panel appointed by Sport Resolutions recognised this, determining that our Conflicting Tournament Regulation and its application in the circumstances did not go beyond what was necessary and proportionate to the Tour’s continued operation as a professional golf tour and that we have a legitimate interest in protecting the rights of our full membership by enforcing it."
The DP World Tour has confirmed a further update on other sanctioned members will be provided soon.