Player Pursuits News

Sergio Defies £100,000 DP World Tour Fine

Sergio Garcia
Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

Sergio Garcia is making headlines again with his refusal to pay the £100,000 fine imposed by the DP World Tour for playing in LIV Golf events without permission.

LIV Golf is a new circuit that launched last year with a lot of hype and money, attracting some of the biggest names in golf, including Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, Ian Poulter and Bryson Dechambeau. The DP World Tour, which is the governing body of professional golf in Europe and beyond, was not happy with this move and decided to fine and suspend 17 players who participated in the first two LIV events in London and Oregon.

The players appealed the decision to an independent panel, Sports Resolutions, but lost the case last month. The panel ruled that the players had committed serious breaches of the Tour’s code of behavior and conflicting tournament regulation, and ordered them to pay £100,000 each within 30 days. Thirty days have since passed and 16 of the 17 players have paid their fines. The lone rebel is none other than Sergio Garcia, the 2017 Masters champion and one of the most popular and polarizing figures in golf. Garcia has not only refused to pay his fine, but he has also resigned his membership of the DP World Tour, along with Poulter, Lee Westwood, and Richard Bland.

This means that Garcia will not be able to play in any DP World Tour events, including the Ryder Cup, which is a huge blow for Team Europe. Garcia is the all-time leading points scorer in Ryder Cup history, with 25.5 points from nine appearances. He has also won 16 times on the DP World Tour, including three Rolex Series events.

This raises the question of why he is taking such a defiant stand. One of Garcia’s motivations is probably that he is one of the founding members of LIV Golf and has a stake in its success. He is also one of the highest-paid players on the circuit, earning around $10 million per year from appearance fees and prize money. LIV Golf offers its players more freedom and flexibility than the DP World Tour, allowing them to choose their own schedule and play on courses that suit their game.

Garcia may also feel that he has nothing left to prove on the DP World Tour, having achieved almost everything he could in his career, and may well be disillusioned with some of the changes that the Tour has made in recent years, such as reducing the number of events required for membership from 13 to four, creating a new strategic alliance with the PGA Tour and renaming itself from European Tour to DP World Tour.

There are also rumors that Garcia may have a personal grudge against Keith Pelley, the chief executive of the DP World Tour, who was reportedly instrumental in imposing the fines and suspensions on the LIV players. Pelley and Garcia have had a rocky relationship since 2019, when Garcia was disqualified from the Saudi International for damaging several greens in frustration. Pelley called Garcia’s behavior “unacceptable” and said he would face “serious consequences” if he repeated it.

Whatever his reasons are, Garcia seems determined to stick with LIV Golf and ignore his obligations to the DP World Tour. He has not commented publicly on his decision or his fine, but he has been active on social media, posting pictures and videos of himself playing golf around the world with his friends and family.

It’s a waiting game as to what happens next – the DP World Tour released a statement on Thursday stating that they are prepared to take “appropriate action” if Garcia continues to disrespect their authority. They also questioned his integrity and professionalism, as he had signed a contract with the tour that he later breached. Some of his fellow LIV players also expressed their disappointment with Garcia’s attitude, as they had paid their fines and complied with the tour’s rules. They said that Garcia was tarnishing the image of LIV Golf and creating unnecessary tension between the two tours. They urged him to pay his fine and move on with his career. If past history is anything to go by, this saga is far from over…

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