Poulter ‘fighting for right to play golf’

Ian Poulter played in the second of the LIV Golf events in Portland, Oregon last week

Ian Poulter says he is “fighting for his right to play golf” and confirmed he is taking legal action against his ban from this week’s Scottish Open.

The Englishman had entered the tournament which precedes next week’s 150th Open Championship at St Andrews.

But the European-based DP World Tour has barred Poulter and 15 other players because they have joined the Saudi-funded LIV Golf Invitational series.

“My commitment to the European Tour has been there since day one,” he said.

“And it’s still there today. I’m proud of playing so often, when it was to the detriment of world ranking points and FedEx Cup points I could have earned playing more in America.”

Poulter is also among those who have been indefinitely suspended by the PGA Tour for signing up to the LIV project. The Genesis Scottish Open, which starts at the Renaissance Club in East Lothian on Thursday, is co-sanctioned between the American circuit and the DP World Tour.

“I feel disappointed, and offended that I’ve been suspended from playing golf on a Tour that I’ve played for 24 years,” Poulter told BBC Sport.

“I’m waiting to hear a panel’s review, hopefully in the next 24 hours, to see if I am going to be allowed to play in Scotland.

“I believe my management team have taken it to an independent panel to review it, but I don’t know all the nuts and bolts – I play the golf, and I leave that stuff to my management.

“Hopefully we can get the ban lifted.”

Players have been suspended after playing the opening LIV events which are 54-hole shotgun start tournaments. The first was staged at the Centurion Club in Hertfordshire last month and the second was held in Portland, Oregon last week.

The PGA and DP World Tours refused waivers giving permission to their players to compete in these $25m (£20m) tournaments. Many, including Poulter, have signed lucrative contracts with LIV Golf.

In a statement released last Friday, DP World Tour boss Keith Pelley said: “Before joining LIV Golf, players knew there would be consequences if they chose money over competition.

“Many of them at the time understood and accepted that. Indeed, as one player said in a media interview earlier this year, ‘If they ban me, they ban me’.

“It is not credible that some are now surprised with the actions we have taken.”

As well as being banned from the Scottish Open, the European Tour rebels who played the opening event were hit with £100,000 fines. Poulter wants the suspension overturned in time to be able to tee it up in Scotland this Thursday.

“I’ve taken that action by myself, because I want to play this week,” he said. “If people want to come in on the back of that, then fine. But I’m fighting for my right to play golf.

“We didn’t know what the consequences of playing for LIV would be. We knew there would be some form of action, but it was never spelled out to us, and I feel the action they have taken is too severe.

“I’ve been allowed to play in Japan, in Korea, all over the world in fact, without any sanctions. I even missed Wentworth one year to play Colonial. That was OK. But this isn’t.

“Because of my commitment to golf I’ve missed seeing my kids grow up, take their first steps, and many other family moments.

“Now I’ve got the chance to spend a lot more time at home, and earn a lot of money – and at 46, the game isn’t getting easier, so why wouldn’t I take it?”

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