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Chief executive Keith Pelley has ridiculed the 16 pros who have threatened the DP World Tour with legal action, asking if joining the Saudi rebel circuit is genuinely the behaviour of players who claim to "care deeply" for the European circuit.
Telegraph Sport exclusively revealed on Thursday that Wentworth HQ had received a letter signed by each of the golfers competing in this week’s second LIV Golf Series event - including Ryder Cup heroes Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood - warning Pelley that unless their £100,000 fines and bans from next week’s Scottish Open were rescinded by 5pm on Friday then they would bring in the lawyers.
And, although in his strong, scathing response, Pelley declined to comment in detail to the threat, it is fair to assume that the DP World Tour, formerly the European Tour, will not be caving into the demands. Anything but, in fact.
As well as holding a light to the players’ declarations in the five-page "open letter" of long-term loyalty and support to the Tour, citing how many times they have played in Rolex Series events in the last five years, Pelley also pointed to the fact that one player signed a commitment to play in this week's Horizon Irish Open - but is instead playing in the £25 million LIV 54-holer in Portland, Oregon.
In a statement, Pelley that the letter "contains so many inaccuracies that it cannot remain unchallenged". "Before joining LIV Golf, players knew there would be consequences if they chose money over competition," he added.
"Many of them at the time understood and accepted that. Indeed, as one player named in the letter 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.
"The letter claims that these players 'care deeply' for the DP World Tour. An analysis of the past participation statistics on our Tour in recent years of several of the leading players named, suggests otherwise.
"One player in particular named in the note has only played six Rolex Series events in the past five years. Another one, only four. I wish many of them had been as keen to play on our Tour then as they seem to be now, based on the fact they have either resigned their membership of the PGA Tour or, if they are still in membership, have been suspended indefinitely.
"Furthermore, given how deeply these players say they care about the DP World Tour, perhaps some of them could have played in Ireland this week in support of our new title sponsor, in particular one player who gave us a signed commitment to play at Mount Juliet.
"With that player currently in action at Pumpkin Ridge, you can imagine the allegation in the letter that we are in the wrong, is hard to accept."
A quick peek through the stats show that Garcia has played only six Rolex Series events in the last five seasons, while Charl Schwartzel - the South Africa who won more than £3m at Centurion - has appeared in four. It is an open secret that Graeme McDowell committed to play in this week’s Irish Open before signing with LIV and it was English veteran Richard Bland who made the "if they ban me" comment last month.
Pelley continued: "We also take great exception to an allegation made near the end of the letter which states we are somehow playing 'second fiddle' to the PGA Tour. Nothing could be further from the truth.
"We held a player meeting in Ireland on Tuesday where we outlined in great detail all the many benefits of our expanded relationship with the PGA Tour.
"One of those is an unprecedented 10 cards on offer to the PGA Tour, cards that many of the players named in this letter desperately wanted to attain in the early stages of their careers. Why now be critical of those trying to do the same?"
LIV has promised to reimburse the players for the £100,000 punishment they incurred for playing in the first $25m event at Centurion Club earlier this month, despite being refused permission.
But other than seek an emergency injunction - which experts believe would hold little chance of succeeding at this late stage - there is clearly nothing Greg Norman’s series can do to ensure the rebels can tee it up at The Renaissance Club next week in the $8m tournament that for the first time is jointly-sanctioned with the PGA Tour.
As well as asking for the disciplinary measures to be overturned, the "Sour Sixteen" - as they have already been labelled on the range at the Irish Open - also want a meeting of the Tour membership called to discuss the matter further or "you will leave us with no choice but to employ the various other means and methods at our disposal to rectify these wrongs".
Pelley's statement concludes: "Finally, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on any potential legal matters.
"I will simply reiterate that our members' regulations which have been in force for more than 30 years, have been accepted by all the players, are there to protect all of our members, and we will use them to take all necessary steps to protect their interests.
"The sanctions for those members who knowingly broke our rules by playing at the Centurion Club without a release are proportionate, fair and, I believe, considered necessary by the majority of our members."