Sergio Garcia and two other players have removed their names from the arbitration case with the DP World Tour ahead of a hearing in London in February.
In a media session in Dubai with DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley and communications director Scott Crockett, it was revealed that the hearing before Sports Resolutions UK will begin on February 6 and end on February 10.
Crockett made clear this is not a court case, but an “arbitration panel hearing which will be held at the Sports Resolutions Arbitration and Media Center in London.”
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“It’s going to be heard by an independent three-man panel and, in this case, it’s a panel made up of two KCs and a former high court judge, His Honor Judge Phillip Sycamore CBE, who will chair the panel.”
As many as 16 players were part of the player list, but now there are just 13 following the withdrawal of Garcia, Charl Schwartzel and Branden Grace who now play in the LIV Golf League.
“So that leaves 13 players – Ian Poulter, Adrian Otaegui, Justin Harding, Lee Westwood, Sam Horsfield, Richard Bland, Shaun Norris, Laurie Canter, Wade Ormsby, Patrick Reed, Bernd Wiesberger, Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer,” Crockett detailed.
“That list includes the three players who originally brought the case to Sports Resolutions last July to force the stay in suspensions, those three being Poulter, Otaegui and Harding (who played at The Renaissance Club in July).”
The hearing is about the conflicting release regulation and the DP World Tour’s ability to enforce it. Crockett asserted that the Tour enforced the rules “for players created by the players.”
“There are precedents for us not granting releases in the past. Therefore, our argument is pretty straightforward. We believe we were and, indeed, we are within our rights to apply these sanctions now.”
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Last season, some players were suspended from playing in the Genesis Scottish Open, the Barbasol Championship and the Barracuda Championship and were fined £100,000 each.
Poulter, Otaegui and Harding had their suspensions stayed which allowed them to compete the week before The 150th Open Championship. The hearing could also provide more information as to whether LIV Golf players can compete for Europe at this year’s Ryder Cup.
The verdict of the behind-closed-doors hearing will be announced on the Sports Resolutions website several weeks after the hearing is over.
“The result is whatever the result is. I think it’s an important moment for our Tour and to protect our Tour and for our members at all different levels. I sent them all a note last week and the support has been great,” said Pelley .