McDowell calls for vote on LIV Golf rebels playing on DP World Tour

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Graeme McDowell said Thursday he wants to see players given a vote on whether to allow LIV rebels to compete on the DP World Tour, formerly known as the European Tour.

The former US Open champion is one of a clutch of players from the Saudi-funded breakaway circuit competing in the PGA Championship at Wentworth this week, a situation that Rory McIlroy said he found "hard to stomach".

McDowell, Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood, high-profile members of the DP World Tour, are eligible to play in the tournament near London after their suspensions for playing in the inaugural LIV Golf event were temporarily stayed on appeal, with a full hearing set for February.

"I don't care about anything a courtroom suggests, this to me is about DP World Tour members and whether they feel like me and the other big names that are playing LIV Golf can bring any value to this tour moving forward," McDowell said.

"If they think that's something they don't want, great. Let's get to that decision and move on because the lack of clarity is just not good for anybody."

McIlroy admitted on Wednesday that his relationships with a number of Ryder Cup team-mates had been significantly damaged by their defection to LIV Golf.

On the same day, DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley delivered an impassioned defence of the tour in the face of what he termed the "LIV propaganda machine".

Pelley urged players not to show disrespect by "parroting LIV's talking points" and dismissed Garcia's claim that the circuit is a feeder tour set to become the fifth best in the world.

His request that players not wear LIV-branded clothing was not heeded by Poulter however, who was greeted with a mixture of boos and cheers on the first tee.

Poulter said: "I have only got Majesticks (clothing) with me. It's the logo that's on my left sleeve, it's part of a business I own."

McDowell said he would not change his decision to join LIV Golf despite the fact it has been so divisive and even said he "did not hate" the idea of foregoing prize money to be allowed to play on the DP World Tour.

"It's a bigger-picture conversation," he added. "I just wish there was an easy solution. I hate it's divided people, pulled friendships apart, hurt a tour I care deeply about which is this one.

"The (US) PGA Tour can suck up a loss like me very easily, I'm a blip on their radar, but I feel like I'm a part of whatever this is and put a lot of heart and soul into the last 20 years so it does hurt me that I'm hurting these players the way we are."

jw/mw