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DP Tour deny Graeme McDowell claim that private conversation over Irish Open contract was leaked to press

McDowell expresses shock at social media death threats over move to LIV tour

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Graeme McDowell on the seventh hole during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Graeme McDowell on the seventh hole during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Graeme McDowell on the seventh hole during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

The DP World Tour issued a statement categorically denying that Deputy CEO, Ryder Cup Director and Chief Commercial Officer Guy Kinnings had leaked his private conversation with Graeme McDowell about his Horizon Irish Open contract to the press.

A spokesperson for the DP World Tour said: “As Keith Pelley said in his media statement on Friday July 1, we will always challenge false claims and correct inaccuracies. We therefore categorically deny the claim made by Graeme McDowell that Guy Kinnings leaked details of a private conversation between them to the media.

“The fact remains that Graeme, as he himself has admitted, gave us a signed commitment to play in the Horizon Irish Open but reneged on that commitment when a LIV Golf event was scheduled against his national Open.

“The suggestion of attempting to change the terms of this commitment to something that suited him, and LIV Golf, better, is yet another example of the ‘have-your-cake-and-eat-it situation’ he acknowledges later in the interview.”

Replying to a letter from LIV Golf rebels to the European Tour last week, CEO Keith Pelley all but called out McDowell for not playing the Irish Open at Mount Juliet, where he was due to host but reneged as LIV Golf scheduled their second event in Oregon opposite the Irish Open at Mount Juliet.

“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,” Pelley said in a statement.

“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.”

McDowell responded as he took part in the JP McManus Pro-Am event at Adare Manor in Co Limerick, saying: “He basically named me, yeah. I felt hurt by it, obviously, but I understood it as well and I had already had the conversation with The European Tour about that situation.

“So the situation was for me to play the Saudi International earlier this year, which was a European Tour, which I won in 2020 and therefore then had a three-year deal to go back and play in that tournament. I then had to beg them to let me go play in that tournament, and to do they made me commit the Irish Open.

“Whoa, commit to the Irish Open? God, that's an amazing concept; I've played for the last 20 years. But then obviously things changed and the LIV schedule started to come out, and obviously the second event is against the Irish Open.

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“So I called them and I said, hey, guys, I'm going to have a problem here because I either have to be all-in and play all LIV events.

"I can't dip my toe in; I don't have that ability. Therefore, the Irish Open is going to be an issue for me, and I'd like the ability to be able to make that up to you in some way, shape or form because I might not be able to do this.

“So that was the conversation that we had. That conversation subsequently got leaked to the press like three hours later throwing me under the bus saying I was having doubts about going to LIV. So my confidential phone call with The European Tour was then leaked to the press."

McDowell earlier expressed shock at the level of vitriol generated by his move to the LIV Golf tour as he revealed he now receives regular social media messages wishing him dead.

The former Ryder Cup stalwart said he expected consequences from his decision to join the contentious Saudi-backed series, but he did not anticipate "being torn to shreds".

The 2010 US Open champion acknowledged his switch to LIV was "about the money" but he said the negatively around the rebel initiative was drowning out the positive changes it was attempting to make to the game of golf.

McDowell faced intense criticism following his widely publicised defence of the controversial new tour at a press conference ahead of the inaugural event in London last month.

He now says he wished he had said nothing at the press event at the Centurion Club.

"I never really have made my peace with how vitriolic the attacks would be regarding my reputation, on social media the things that I'd said being absolutely torn to shreds," he said.

"And it's really hard because I'm being asked questions that there are no right answers to.

"I'm having my moral integrity attacked all the time when, at the end of the day, all I'm trying to do is play golf. I'm trying to make a business decision for me and my family. And, you know, I've paid my dues in this game over the last 20 years, I've tried to carry myself the right way.

"The tenuous links to what the Saudi regime have done, the horrible things they have done, they're trying to link this to golf and playing professional golf.

GALLERY In Pictures: JP McManus Pro-Am 2022 Close

5 July 2022; Tiger Woods of USA after finishing his round on day two of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

5 July 2022; Tiger Woods of USA after finishing his round on day two of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

5 July 2022; Sam Burns of USA signs an autograph for a fan on the 2nd hole during day two of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

5 July 2022; Sam Burns of USA signs an autograph for a fan on the 2nd hole during day two of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

04/07/2022
Tiger Woods pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Tiger Woods pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

4 July 2022; Tiger Woods of USA, left, and Limerick hurler Gearóid Hegarty during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Tiger Woods of USA, left, and Limerick hurler Gearóid Hegarty during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

LIMERICK, IRELAND - JULY 04: Tiger Woods of United States plays his second shot to the 9th hole during Day One of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor on July 04, 2022 in Limerick, Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

LIMERICK, IRELAND - JULY 04: Tiger Woods of United States plays his second shot to the 9th hole during Day One of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor on July 04, 2022 in Limerick, Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Comedian Bill Murray reacts to members of the public during the JP McManus Pro-Am charity golf tournament at Adare Manor, Ireland, Monday, July, 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Comedian Bill Murray reacts to members of the public during the JP McManus Pro-Am charity golf tournament at Adare Manor, Ireland, Monday, July, 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Singer and songwriter Niall Horan takes a picture with fans during the JP McManus Pro-Am golf tournament at Adare Manor, Ireland, Monday, July 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Singer and songwriter Niall Horan takes a picture with fans during the JP McManus Pro-Am golf tournament at Adare Manor, Ireland, Monday, July 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

4 July 2022; Tiger Woods of USA during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Tiger Woods of USA during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Rory McIlroy watches his drive on the second during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Rory McIlroy watches his drive on the second during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Rory McIlroy during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Rory McIlroy during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Xander Schauffele of USA, left, Gerry McIlroy, father of Rory, on the 10th during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Xander Schauffele of USA, left, Gerry McIlroy, father of Rory, on the 10th during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Tiger Woods of USA tees off on the ninth during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Tiger Woods of USA tees off on the ninth during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

04/07/2022
Tiger Woods pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Tiger Woods pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
Justin Thomas pictured with JP McManus and John Kiely at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Justin Thomas pictured with JP McManus and John Kiely at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
Padraig Harrington pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Padraig Harrington pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
Justin Thomas pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Justin Thomas pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
John Rahm pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 John Rahm pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
Shane Lowry poses for a selfie with Patrick Hore from Enniscorthy, Co Wexford at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Shane Lowry poses for a selfie with Patrick Hore from Enniscorthy, Co Wexford at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
Ian Woosnam pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Ian Woosnam pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
Shane Lowry pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Shane Lowry pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
Padraig Harrington pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Padraig Harrington pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
Actor Bill Murray pictured with playing partner Jamie Dornan at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Actor Bill Murray pictured with playing partner Jamie Dornan at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

4 July 2022; Matt Fitzpatrick on the second green during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Matt Fitzpatrick on the second green during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Actor Bill Murray during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Actor Bill Murray during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Irish businessmen Dermot Desmond, left, and JP McManus during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Irish businessmen Dermot Desmond, left, and JP McManus during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Matt Fitzpatrick on the second fairway during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Matt Fitzpatrick on the second fairway during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Actors Jamie Dornan, right, and Bill Murray during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Actors Jamie Dornan, right, and Bill Murray during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Former EU Commissioner Phil Hogan during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Former EU Commissioner Phil Hogan during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Matt Fitzpatrick putts on the second green during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Matt Fitzpatrick putts on the second green during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Irish businessmen Dermot Desmond, left, and JP McManus during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Irish businessmen Dermot Desmond, left, and JP McManus during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

04/07/2022
Niall Horan pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Niall Horan pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
Actor Bill Murray pictured with caddie Paul McCarthy at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Actor Bill Murray pictured with caddie Paul McCarthy at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
Actor Bill Murray pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Actor Bill Murray pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
Actor Bill Murray pictured with playing partners  Niall Horan and Jamie Dornan at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Actor Bill Murray pictured with playing partners Niall Horan and Jamie Dornan at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
Actor Bill Murray pictured with playing partner Niall Horan at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Actor Bill Murray pictured with playing partner Niall Horan at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
Niall Horan pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Niall Horan pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
Actor Bill Murray pictured with playing partner Jamie Dornan at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Actor Bill Murray pictured with playing partner Jamie Dornan at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

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5 July 2022; Tiger Woods of USA after finishing his round on day two of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

"It's very difficult when you're in a situation where you're literally being asked questions that there are no right answers to and you're just being torn apart for it."

At the Centurion Club last month, McDowell described the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi as "reprehensible" when he was pressed on crimes and human rights abuses linked to the regime.

But he then insisted that the LIV players were "not politicians" and said he was "proud" to help Saudi Arabia "get to where they want to be".

On Monday, McDowell said: "I don't wake up and feel proud of myself every day. You know, I can't turn on my Instagram or Twitter account without someone telling me to go die. It's been a really tough couple of months.

"But again, I expected it, I knew what the consequences are going to be, I just didn't realise kind of just how heavily this was going to be hammered, trying to answer questions which are unanswerable.

"That's probably the only mistake I made in London at the first event when I was in my press conference - I just wish I'd said nothing.

"I just wish I just sat there and just kind of shook my head and said no comment. But it's not who I am. I always try and be truthful and try to answer questions. I shouldn't have bothered."

The Northern Irishman said professional golf is played in many countries with questionable records on human rights.

"I've played golf all over the world and countries whose human rights records could probably be torn apart as well," he said.

"I've never questioned being in China or being in the Middle East or being all over the world.

"What I do is I play professional golf, I play golf for money. I've chased that money all over the world all my career. I'm 43 next month and, you know, the LIV Golf opportunity was incredibly lucrative. Do I research into the morals of every dollar I've ever made? No, I don't.

"And, unfortunately, because of the competitive threat that this tour is compared to the other tours in the world the negativity has been focused heavily on here and it really hurts to kind of see my name attacked the way it has."

Meanwhile,



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