As Ian Poulter claimed he did not expect a hostile reception in the Scottish Open locker room, American Billy Horschel launched a scathing attack on LIV Golf’s rebel players, calling them “hypocrites and liars”.
Poulter is eligible for this week’s co-sanctioned event at the Renaissance Club in East Lothian after winning the first stage of a legal battle against the DP World Tour.
The Wentworth-based circuit had banned the Englishman along with 15 other LIV players from the Genesis Scottish Open after they took part in last month’s opening event on the Saudi-funded series.
“They decided to go play on that tour and they should go play there. They shouldn’t be coming back over to the DP World Tour or the PGA Tour,” Horschel, the reigning BMW PGA champion, stated before the Scottish Open.
“To say that they wanted to also support the DP World or PGA Tour going forward, while playing the LIV Tour, is completely asinine in my opinion.
“It’s unfortunate that those guys made their bed and that’s what they want to do. Leave us alone, honestly.
“Last week’s events, I’ve been really frustrated by because there are a lot of guys that are hypocrites that are not telling the truth and lying about some things.
“I just can’t be anymore about it as I have been in the past.”
Poulter will arrive at the tournament after competing at the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor on Monday and Tuesday. And the 46-year-old dismissed concerns that he will face hostility from fellow professionals at Renaissance.
“My reception here has been unbelievable with the 40,000 fans that we’ve had,” Poulter said after his second and final round of the charity event.
“The locker room are people that I play against week in week out and if they take exception to it that’s up to those guys. I haven’t had a problem with any of the players.
“I’ve seen Rory (McIlroy) this week and I’ve had a chat, I’ve seen Thomas (Bjorn) and we have a difference of opinion but we’re still friends, which its nice when you’ve played golf with these players for a very long time.
“It is strictly a business decision, not a personal decision that has to get in the way of friendships and I class pretty much everyone out here on tour as a friend.”
Poulter says he “feels pretty good” about the decision to allow him to play the Scottish Open after a hearing organised by Sporting Resolutions (UK) found in his favour, while the DP World Tour said they were “disappointed” by the outcome from the first stage of the hearing.
“We followed the procedure that was laid out in front by the tour for an appeal process and we’ve obviously won that appeal,” Poulter said. South African Justin Harding and Spain’s Adrian Otaegui also received a stay to play in Scotland.
Further LIV rebels may be added to the Scottish Open field before the tournament begins on Thursday. The field for the joint PGA Tour and DP World Tour event would be 156 players, but normally the European-based circuit’s chief Keith Pelley has accepted “the field size will increase”.
“I feel like it was the right decision and I’m looking forward to the week,” Poulter added.
He also revealed that he has been receiving “distressing” messages on social media since signing up for the lucrative LIV circuit which this year boasts seven $25m (£20m) tournaments and a final event worth $50m.
“It’s not really a great forum right now to be bedtime reading, it’s not good before you shut your eyes,” Poulter said. “It’s quite distressing in some respects. They are people’s opinions but it has got extremely nasty, unfortunately.”
He confirmed that he is also seeking to overturn the £100,000 fine imposed by the DP World Tour but refused to be drawn on whether he is fighting the PGA Tour’s decision to indefinitely suspend LIV rebels.
“I don’t even want to comment on that side yet,” he said. “The focus is first and foremost to play next week, to play the Open Championship and let’s see where it goes from there.”
Poulter sees his participation on the Scottish east coast as vital preparation for the following week’s Open Championships a little further north on the Old Course at St Andrews.
“It’s links golf,” he said. “I’ve always played the Scottish Open throughout so many years. I don’t know how many Scottish Opens I’ve played but it’s been an awful lot, it’s part of the process.
“The 150th Open at St Andrews I think is a fairly significant one for me. It was my first Open in 2000, it will be my last Open at St Andrews so I wanted to have some links golf prep before going in.”