Ian Poulter: LIV Golf Invitational Series event retains ‘lots of pluses’

Poulter joins Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Phil Mickelson as the most high-profile players known to have asked for the required release to play the 54-hole event at Centurion Club, which boasts a total prize fund of £20.2m and £3.2m to the winner

Last Updated: 18/05/22 10:24pm


Ian Poulter on the LIV Golf Invitational Series: ‘It’s a big attraction, for sure. There’s lots of pluses to it.’

Ian Poulter admits the first LIV Golf Invitational Series event retains “lots of pluses”, despite being denied permission to play by the PGA Tour.

Poulter joins Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Phil Mickelson as the most high-profile players known to have asked for the required release to play the 54-hole event at Centurion Club, which boasts a total prize fund of £20.2m and £3.2m to the winner.

However, PGA Tour members were informed last week that releases had not been granted, leaving them open to sanctions if they do tee it up in St Albans from June 9-11.

Those could include fines or bans from the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, placing future participation in the Ryder Cup as a player or captain in jeopardy, although LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman has pledged to “defend, reimburse and represent” any players hit by sanctions.

It remains to be seen how many play at Centurion Club regardless – Richard Bland told BBC Radio Solent he will definitely compete – but asked if it was a difficult decision, Poulter said: “It’s a big attraction, for sure. There’s
lots of pluses to it.

LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman, pictured here with Phil Mickelson, has pledged to "defend, reimburse and represent" any players hit by sanctions.

LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman, pictured here with Phil Mickelson, has pledged to “defend, reimburse and represent” any players hit by sanctions.

“I’m going to play this week, I’m playing next week and then we will see.”

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The severity of potential sanctions remains uncertain and, speaking ahead of the US PGA Championship at Southern Hills, Poulter added: “We’ve no idea.

“I’m focused on playing well this week. I need to play well to get into the US Open. I’m 83 in the world and I’d love to play in the US Open (the top 60 on May 23 and June 6 qualify).

“I want to play as many tournaments as I possibly can. For me it’s simple. Play well this week, play well next week and see how potentially things pan out.

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“There’s so many unknowns and it’s hard to talk about unknowns.”

Asked specifically about the threat of a Ryder Cup ban, Europe’s talisman in the biennial event added: “Speculation. No-one knows the ifs or buts.”

PGA of America chief critical of ‘flawed’ Saudi breakaway league

PGA of America chief executive Seth Waugh reiterated the organisation’s support for golf’s current “ecosystem” and has questioned the “flawed” format of the Saudi-backed breakaway circuit.

The Greg Norman-fronted LIV Golf said the organisation’s full league of 14 events had been ready to launch until Phil Mickelson’s comments cost him several sponsors and resulted in some players backing out, with a revised schedule of eight events beginning at Centurion Club in Hertfordshire next month.

“We are big supporters of the ecosystem as it stands,” Waugh said. “We think the structure of – I don’t know if it’s a league – it’s not a league at this point, but the league structure is somewhat flawed. We do think that for a lot of reasons, bringing outside money into the game is going to change it forever, if that, in fact, happens.

Claude Harmon III claims that LIV Golf and the Saudi Series is the 'elephant in the living room of golf' and adds that ‘players are like penguins, sitting on the edge of ice waiting for one to jump’.

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Claude Harmon III claims that LIV Golf and the Saudi Series is the ‘elephant in the living room of golf’ and adds that ‘players are like penguins, sitting on the edge of ice waiting for one to jump’.

Claude Harmon III claims that LIV Golf and the Saudi Series is the ‘elephant in the living room of golf’ and adds that ‘players are like penguins, sitting on the edge of ice waiting for one to jump’.

“The Tour is owned by the players, and that means that everything ultimately flows back to the players, and as soon as you put any money into it, it’s going to create a need for return, a need for exit, and a lot of things that change the dynamics of it, which we don’t think is necessarily good for the ecosystem.

“I’ve lived in a world of disruption my whole life, or whole career I should say, and it was inevitable. Golf has never been hotter in every way, from a participation standpoint, from a viewership standpoint. Golf for the first time ever is cool, and that is going to bring more and more eyeballs to it, which I think is ultimately great for the game.

“It’ll cause disruption, but the disruption is happening already internally. It’s not us, but the purses are obviously up, there’s lots of money going on, the affiliation between the European Tour and the PGA Tour is very real. So all of that disruption is kind of happening but happening internally, which we think is good.”

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