Pelley on Westwood comments: "I was quite aware about how upset the staff were"

DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley hinted the comments made by LIV Golf League player Lee Westwood "upset staff". 

Ben Smith's picture
Mon, 23 Jan 2023
Pelley on Westwood comments: "I was quite aware about how upset the staff were"

DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley hinted LIV Golf League player Lee Westwood noticeably "upset staff" with the comments he made about the European-based circuit. 

The veteran, who has won 25 times on the European Tour alongside a glittering Ryder Cup career, appeared to stoke tensions before the first Rolex Series event of 2023. 

Westwood questioned the future of the DP World Tour before the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and took aim at their alliance with the PGA Tour

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He accused the PGA of "forcing the hand" of its top stars to appear in their elevated events which has led to significantly weaker fields on the DP World Tour. 

Westwood described that and the debacle over the Official World Golf Rankings as a "double whammy" for the tour. 

The Englishman now faces the prospect of being permanently banned from the tour next month. 

A sports arbitration panel will determine whether Wentworth HQ has the legal power to permanently ban LIV players in a five-day hearing from 6 February. 

As many as 16 players took their case to Sports Resolutions UK after the circuit announced suspensions and £100,000 fines for those who teed it up in LIV Golf's inaugural event last June. 

It has now emerged that Sergio Garcia, Branden Grace and Charl Schwartzel have withdrawn their appeals. 

Westwood said he wouldn't "play the guessing game" over what way things will go, but added:  

"I love the European Tour and like to think I've supported it better than anyone who has been in my position. Yet I look at the tour now and wonder what it is." 

Pelley did not name Westwood directly but confirmed to reporters in Abu Dhabi last week that a player had "upset staff". 

The chief executive said: 

"You can see the level of tournament now and we have raised the bar in every single tournament especially in the Middle East. That's important.
"Last night we had a function and it was staggering how many people came up to me to say they were disappointed with the comments made by a player this week and it was unfair to the staff.
"I found that really interesting. I was quite aware about how upset the staff were."

Pelley said that he has written a memo to DP World Tour members ahead of the legal showdown, claiming the response was positive.  

For Westwood's part, he has maintained no player has said anything directly to his face about his decision to join LIV Golf. 

Westwood has previously stated that the vitriol has come from one direction and accused the DP World Tour of spreading anti-LIV Golf propaganda. 

Another player facing the prospect of being permanently suspended from the DP World Tour is Ian Poulter

Speaking last week, Poulter said the "full story" has not yet been told as he revealed he would potentially snub the Ryder Cup even if he were to qualify automatically. 

Next page: Henrik Stenson not ruling out playing in 2023 Ryder Cup