Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood resign their DP World Tour memberships with immediate effect; now ineligible for September’s Ryder Cup in Italy, live on Sky Sports; DP World Tour: “Their resignations, along with sanctions imposed upon them, are a consequence of their own choices”
Last Updated: 03/05/23 8:40pm
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.
The trio of Poulter, Garcia and Westwood have played in 28 Ryder Cups between them, lifted more than 50 titles, and were honorary lifetime members before their announcement.
The 2023 Ryder Cup takes place at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Guidonia Montecelio near Rome from September 29 to October 1, live on Sky Sports.
Westwood, Poulter, Garcia and Bland were all given sanctions by the DP World Tour for breaking rules by appearing in the LIV Golf series’ opening event in Hemel Hempstead last year without permission.
“The DP World Tour today confirmed it has received membership resignations from Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Richard Bland and Lee Westwood who were sanctioned for serious breaches of the Tour’s Conflicting Tournament Regulation committed last June.
“The DP World Tour would like to take this opportunity to thank the four players for the contribution they have made to the Tour and in particular to Sergio, Ian and Lee for the significant part they have played in Europe’s success in the Ryder Cup over many years.
“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.
“A further update on other sanctioned members will be provided on Thursday.”
‘End of an era for European golf’
Westwood has been involved in some capacity at every Ryder Cup since making his debut in 1997, making a record-equalling 11 appearances and serving as a vice-captain to Thomas Bjorn in Europe’s 2018 victory at Le Golf National.
The former world No 1 registered 25 DP World Tour titles during a lengthy career and topped the season-long standings as recently as 2020, while Garcia has featured in 10 Ryder Cups and is the all-time record points scorer for Team Europe.
Both players were Honorary Life Members on the DP World Tour for their lengthy service to European golf, while Poulter has been another Ryder Cup stalwart who has played a key role in some of Team Europe’s biggest successes in the biennial contest.
All three could have still had an outside chance of qualifying for this year’s contest had they not given up their membership, with LIV players officially ineligible for the Ryder Cup as things stand.
The trio would have been likely candidates as future Ryder Cup captains, given their long and successful association with Team Europe, although their resignations mean those hopes are now over.
What does that mean for Team Europe?
Garcia, Poulter and Westwood all featured in Europe’s record-breaking loss at Whistling Straits in 2021, meaning there will be significant changes to the line-up for September’s contest in Rome.
DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley has previously said LIV golfers can still represent Team Europe in the Ryder Cup, although the limited number of events where they can earn qualification points to qualify will make that prospect increasingly unlikely.
Henrik Stenson and Bernd Wiesberger have also switched to LIV Golf since featuring for Team Europe two years’ ago, further reducing potential Ryder Cup experience in the team, with Luke Donald likely to have an influx of rookies in his side at Marco Simone Golf Club.
The year-long qualification campaign began last autumn and runs through until this September, when three automatic qualifiers from the European Points List and the same number from the World Points List joining six captain’s picks to make up Donald’s team.
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Source : Sky Sports