Attempting to examine the way forward for skilled golf is about as onerous as studying a slippery pitch with a number of breaks of Augusta Nationwide greens at lightning pace.
DP World chiefs stroll with even handed patronage; They do not need to get the ball rolling the fallacious manner. Decisive authorized motion in opposition to gamers from the dissident LIV golf league looms within the close to future.
So sitting for an hour with European Tour CEO Keith Bailey, forward of this week’s Hero Dubai Desert Basic present, raises extra questions than solutions.
However we’ve discovered that he and his PGA Tour counterpart Jay Monahan have stepped again from the thorny discussions that may decide whether or not LIV gamers will earn world rating factors.
We heard the tour employees have been upset about feedback made by Lee Westwood, the LIV recruiter in Abu Dhabi final week the place he questioned the present power of the DP World circuit.
It was additionally made clear that the judging session in London, which is able to happen from 6-10 February, would require an excessive amount of expense and a spotlight from the hierarchy of the tour.
“I feel this is a vital second for our tour and to guard our tour and our members in any respect ranges,” Bailey instructed reporters gathered on the Emirates Golf Membership.
The tour engaged the companies of three exterior legislation corporations to assist them struggle 13 LIV gamers who have been interesting in opposition to penalties imposed to problem waivers being denied to permit them to play LIV occasions.
First Ian Poulter, Adrian Otagui and Justin Harding appealed the £100,000 positive and bans from the Scottish Open. Penalties have been suspended they usually have been in a position to play all through the method.
The variety of appellants then rose to 16, however Sergio Garcia, Charles Schwartzl and Branden Grace have now withdrawn from the case, which will probably be heard behind closed doorways by Sports activities Resolutions UK.
The panel, made up of two army fee chairmen and former Supreme Courtroom justice Philip Sycamore, will determine the end result. However that won’t be recognized till a number of weeks after the listening to.
“It is some huge cash and it is time and assets, however it’s what it’s,” mentioned Bailey, who refused to be drawn into the fallout from his tour in the event that they misplaced the case.
“We had discussions at a really excessive stage however on the identical time it was not our most important focus,” he mentioned. “Once you defend the claims in opposition to 13 gamers and produce witness statements and do all that, you deal with that.”
Bailey admitted that beneath authorized recommendation, he and fellow senior Keith Waters, together with PGA Tour commissioner Monahan, had eliminated themselves from world discussions about whether or not the Saudi Arabia-funded LIV Tour needs to be acknowledged.
“I’ve not seen or appeared on the LIV app nor have I given my opinions on the app,” he mentioned. “It’s within the palms of the technical committee.
“Jay Monahan, Keith Waters and I’ve left ourselves on the separate panel. The 4 majors will decide the LIV software.
“We’re not concerned in it, we do not talk about it, and it has no bearing on what occurs with OWGR so far as LIV goes.”
“We did it as a result of our authorized advisors urged it,” Bailey added. LIV president Greg Norman referred to as for the scheduled rounds to be stripped of any affect on the choice.
Within the build-up to final week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship – which was brilliantly gained by French Ryder Cup favourite Victor Perez – Westwood commented on the obvious weak spot on the fields on this massive week within the Center East.
“Two $9 million occasions, back-to-back, an hour’s drive away, in near-perfect circumstances,” mentioned the veteran Englishman. “Should you’re not going to get sturdy fields, like half a dozen of the world’s high 20, you are by no means going to get them, proper?”
Bailey mentioned the feedback harm his staff. “Final evening we had a perform perform and it was superb how many individuals got here as much as me and mentioned they have been disillusioned with the feedback,” he mentioned.
“And it was unfair to the employees and I discovered that actually attention-grabbing. I did not fairly understand how upset the employees was.”
“I feel the feedback that have been made have been exterior the realm of info. Commenting on the highest 20 by way of the place the tour passed off, you all know it is by no means been more true and it is by no means been stronger.”
The tour boss has additionally raised eyebrows that he’s thus far unaware of any LIV participant expressing any detrimental sentiment concerning the profitable $405m (£328m) circuit over 14 tournaments this 12 months.
“Some folks have mentioned to me during the last couple of months, ‘It is superb that not one of the opponents on the brand new Tour mentioned something about their Tour,'” Bailey mentioned.
“It is actually inconceivable for them to not have opinions and for the whole lot to be positive the primary 12 months. I discover it ridiculous.”
The tour says it isn’t seeking to grant life bans to gamers it deems to be rebellious for defying waivers to play LIV occasions. However it isn’t clear what the penalties will probably be if the listening to goes in favor of the spherical.
LIV gamers insist they’ve the fitting to play wherever they like and that the European Tour did not stand of their manner once they needed to play within the US. “What’s the distinction?” They argue.
Within the meantime, they’ll proceed to compete on the DP World Tour, and this week sponsors welcomed Dubai to play at Almoayyed. Up to now week the likes of Westwood, Poulter and Henrik Stenson have been ignored.
This inconsistency is the best way issues are in the intervening time. Will they be eligible for Ryder Cup choice? who have you learnt However the tour insists that no matter of Luke Donald’s six wildcard selections will solely belong to the captain.
Not less than by then there needs to be extra readability.
In truth, golf followers ought to hope that comes sooner reasonably than later, so we will deal with the motion itself — like these diabolically onerous putts that may outline the Masters in April.