LIV Golf rebel Martin Kaymer skips BMW PGA Championship as he feels he ‘is not welcome’

Martin Kaymer said he does not feel comfortable teeing it up at the BMW PGA Championship


LIV Golf defector Martin Kaymer has claimed he does not feel comfortable teeing it up at the BMW PGA Championship next week amid the ongoing tension between the rebel tour players and the DP World Tour loyalists. 

The German, 37, was one of 19 LIV Golf players listed in the field for the DP World Tour’s, formerly the European Tour, flagship event at Wentworth in Surrey, England. 

However, the two-time major champion has decided to withdraw from the event as he insisted he does not want to play somewhere he ‘is not welcome’. 

‘Of course, there will be friction there, that’s why I’m not going,’ Kaymer told Golf Digest on Thursday after finishing the pro-am at the LIV Golf Invitational Boston. 

‘I don’t need to go to a place where, feel-wise, you’re not that welcome. They don’t say it, but [it’s there].’

Kaymer is the first Saudi rebel to withdraw his name from the field, while other defectors and mainstays of the DP World Tour are still set to play, including former Ryder Cup teammates Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell and Sergio Garcia, along with Patrick Reed, Abraham Ancer, Talor Gooch and Kevin Na.

Martin Kaymer said he does not feel comfortable teeing it up at the BMW PGA Championship

Martin Kaymer said he does not feel comfortable teeing it up at the BMW PGA Championship

The German was one of 19 LIV Golf players listed in the field for the flagship event next week

The German was one of 19 LIV Golf players listed in the field for the flagship event next week

The LIV Golf turncoats have secured their places in the field thanks to their spots inside the top 60 in the World Ranking.

Kaymer, who has 11 wins on the European Tour, insisted he still loved the tour and their flagship event at Wentworth but claimed he preferred to play in events where the ‘energy is positive’. 

‘I do love the European Tour and I do like Wentworth; I think it’s a flagship event that people like to participate in,’ Kaymer said. 

‘But under those circumstances, I try to stay in the area where the energy is high, where the energy is positive. 

Ian Poulter is among the rebels still heading to Wentworth DP World Tour mainstay Lee Westwood will play the event

Ian Poulter (left) and Lee Westwood (right) are among the rebels still heading to Wentworth 

‘I don’t know why I should fly to England, [and] be on the golf course for four or five days where you are not that welcome, I would say. 

‘It has nothing to do with the European Tour or the players or anything like that … but where we are right now [in professional golf], I try to stay away. I will wait until everything settles.’

It has been made clear that their presence will not be met with the warmest of welcomes. 

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The 37-year-old, who has 11 wins on the European Tour, insisted he still loved the tour

The 37-year-old, who has 11 wins on the European Tour, insisted he still loved the tour

DP tour officials asked LIV Golfers to refrain from wearing LIV logos on their clothes in an email sent on Tuesday ahead of the BMW PGA Championship at the Wentworth Club in Surrey, England.

The memo told the rebels that they ‘will not be required to play in the Wednesday Pro-Am and out of respect for our partners, our broadcasters and your fellow competitors, we would kindly ask you to consider not wearing LIV Golf-branded apparel during your participation.’ 

A stipulation in the contracts of LIV Golfers says they must wear Tour-themed branding while playing on other circuits. 

Major winner Patrick Reed notably wore multiple LIV logos on his shirt and hat when playing a practice round at the Open Championship at St. Andrews this year. 

LIV Golf players were asked to not wear the breakaway's logos at the BMW PGA Championship

LIV Golf players were asked to not wear the breakaway’s logos at the BMW PGA Championship 

But the frostiest receptions are likely to come from their fellow professionals – most notably Rory McIlroy. 

The Northern Irishman has been one of the most outspoken against the Saud-backed breakaway and launched one of his most scathing attacks earlier this week. 

Fresh off the back of his PGA Tour FedEx Cup win, which saw him pocket a massive $18million, the 33-year-old will head to Wentworth for the BMW PGA Championship. 

But he faces an awkward reunion with some of his old Ryder Cup teammates, who have jumped ship. 

‘If you believe in something, I think you have to speak up, and I believe very strongly about this,’ said McIlroy. ‘I hate what it’s doing to the game of golf. I hate it. I really do.

Fresh off the back of his PGA Tour FedEx Cup win, Rory McIlroy will be heading to Wentworth

Fresh off the back of his PGA Tour FedEx Cup win, Rory McIlroy will be heading to Wentworth

The 33-year-old has been a vocal critic of Saudi-backed LIV Golf and its impact on the sport

The 33-year-old has been a vocal critic of Saudi-backed LIV Golf and its impact on the sport

‘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.

‘I believe what I’m saying is the right thing, and I think when you believe that what you are saying is the right thing, you are happy to stick your neck out on the line.’

McIlroy, along with Tiger Woods, was a ringleader in the players-only meeting last month to discuss measure to combat the threat of LIV Golf. 

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has since introduced immediate changes for the upcoming season, including a major increase to prize money, a minimum salary of $500,000 and the introduction of McIlroy and Woods’ tour-sanctioned stadium event series, the TGL. 

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The PGA Tour also informed LIV Golf defectors who had not yet resigned their memberships that their cards had been revoked ahead of the new season, which begins September 15.   

The PGA Tour (pictured commissioner Jay Monahan) has revoked the membership cards of players who have defected to LIV Golf ahead of the new season in two weeks

The PGA Tour (pictured commissioner Jay Monahan) has revoked the membership cards of players who have defected to LIV Golf ahead of the new season in two weeks

Unlike the PGA Tour, the European circuit has not suspended members for taking part in LIV Golf. 

Rebels were initially barred from competing in the events the DP World Tour co-sanctions with the PGA Tour, as well as being fined £100,000. But Poulter was among a group of players who won an appeal against that ban ahead of last month’s Scottish Open, paving the way for them to play in more European events.

Despite the fightback from both the PGA and DP World Tours, Kaymer remains hopeful that a truce can be called.  

‘The hope is there absolutely,’ Kaymer said. ‘I just don’t know if the main people in charge of all the tours … are able to put egos and personal stuff behind and focus on the big picture in the game of golf.

‘I think it’s very good for the game of golf what’s happening with LIV and what’s happening with the PGA Tour now. All those things are good for the players, and I do hope and do believe in maybe in two or three years things will change and will turn out good.’



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