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Padraig Harrington says Saudi rebels should play in Majors and expresses concern for Ryder Cup

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Padraig Harrington of Ireland reacts after putting for birdie on the ninth hole

Padraig Harrington of Ireland reacts after putting for birdie on the ninth hole

Padraig Harrington of Ireland reacts after putting for birdie on the ninth hole

Pádraig Harrington birdied his last two holes to likely make the cut in the Horizon Irish Open but immediately found himself calling for golf's powerbrokers not to sanction the LIV Golf rebels in the Majors.

After following a double-bogey at his 16th hole with two birdies for a 71 that left him on three-under at Mount Juliet, eight shots behind clubhouse leader Jorge Campillo of Spain, the Dubliner was asked about the war of words between LIV Golf and the DP World Tour.

DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley issued a statement this morning responding to a letter sent by LIV Golf to Wentworth demanding that they rescind the ban on their players playing next week's Scottish Open by 5pm today or face legal action.

"It is not credible that some are now surprised with the actions we have taken," Pelley said of the £100,000 fines handed to those who played the first LIV event without a release and bans on them playing the Scottish Open or the two forthcoming co-sanctioned events in the US.

"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."

Harrington was taken aback by the news, admitting: "I thought this was old news to be honest.

"I don't have any problem with the guys who have gone to LIV Golf. They make their own choices and if you make your bed to sleep in it. That's it.

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"It was very clear there were guys who didn't go who would've had offers on the table. They have taken the big decision not to take the money, so it was very clear there would be severe sanctions for anybody who went.

"I honestly don't judge the guys who went for the money because it's a pretty good offer. But there are five players in Ireland who could've had money on the table and didn't go.

"So only 48 players have gone in total and hundreds of players who haven't gone and that's only on the moral grounds. Why would we judge anybody else's morals? Some people don't have any issue. So let them go if they want to do it."

Harrington revealed the rank and file in Europe wanted far harsher sanctions in line with the indefinite bans imposed by the PGA Tour.

But Harrington does not want to see the likes of Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka or Bryson DeChambeau banned from the Majors.

"I wouldn't sanction them," he said. "I'd let them play in the Majors. I don't have a problem with that.

"I think it's good to have competition because you can see competition has improved both the PGA Tour and the European Tour. Maybe in five or 10 years’ time it might change but now there has to be a separation of the Tours. I'm surprised it's a surprise to anyone. So there have to be some boundaries."

However, he admitted he was concerned about the Ryder Cup.

"I will say it's complicated for the Ryder Cup, and I do need to know what their proposals are. I wouldn't want to see the Ryder Cup weakened and I wouldn't want to see the Majors weakened.

"I don't know what's on the table for the Ryder Cup. I hope they will come and discuss it with me, but I haven't gone to them as yet.

"I don't want the Ryder Cup in any shape or form to be damaged. It is such a great event. It should be as good as it can be and some rivalry is good. In 20 years' time, there might be a match between LIV Golf and PGA Tour!”

ENDS


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