Saudi Rebels Not Welcome At Wentworth

The BMW PGA Championship is always going to capture a lot of the golfing headlines given its slot on the calendar, the strength of field, the DP World Tour forever touting it as their 'flagship event' and it taking place at its headquarters of Wentworth.

But this year will be as different as any in recent times with the inclusion of the LIV Golf members in the field and how obviously unwelcome they will be made to feel. To remind you the PGA Tour have suspended all members who joined the Saudi-backed breakaway tour while the DP World Tour members are allowed to play due to an injunction that temporarily prevents the Tour suspending them from competing in its tournaments. A ruling is due after a full legal hearing next February.

Rory McIlroy, who completed a third FedExCup triumph at East Lake last week, has already stated that it will be 'hard to stomach' seeing them part of the Rolex Series tournament.

"If you believe in something I think you have to speak up, and I believe very strongly about this - I really do," McIlroy said. "I hate what it's doing to the game of golf. I hate it. I really do. Like it's going to be hard for me to stomach going to Wentworth and seeing 18 of them there. That just doesn't sit right with me. So, yeah, I feel strongly. I believe what I'm saying are the right things, and I think when you believe that what you're saying is the right things, you're happy to stick your neck out on the line. I think it has got a little tribal. I certainly have that feeling at times."

If that wasn't enough the likes of Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter, who would normally be thrust front and centre to push the tournament are nowhere to be seen on any advertising and they won't even be part of the pro-am.

A memo from the DP World Tour's CEO Keith Pelley read: “They will not be given any on course competitive disadvantage – i.e. unfavourable tee times – but they will not be required to play in the pro-am on Wednesday and will not be in TV featured groups.”

They have also been asked not to wear any LIV Golf apparel which will be an interesting one to see how that is policed.

Come the weekend Pelley and his counterpart Jay Monahan will be praying that the LIV stars will be nowhere near the top of the leaderboard to save the need for any coverage and subsequent interviews. If the Open crowds are anything to go by the likes of Westwood and co will be given their usual rousing reception even if their peers aren't fussed whatsoever by their appearances on the West Course.

"It's going to be odd seeing certain people, obviously, at Wentworth," US Open champ Matt Fitzpatrick added at the Tour Championship. "That is going to be a bit weird, and obviously it's a little bit disappointing."