Mastercard has revealed that it has paused its partnerships with Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell, following their decision to become Live Tour golf members, as first reported by Sports Business Journal.
The newly formed golf body has been met with much controversy and, despite being embraced by a plethora of the world’s top players, has struggled to gain a foothold on world golf.
Controversy around the tournament stems from it being backed by the Saudi royal family, with critics citing the tournament as potentially being part of a sport washing strategy.
Both McDowell and Poulter held a long standing partnership with Mastercard, underlining the banking giant’s stance on what has become a civil war in golf.
Mastercard Vice President of Communications Seth Eisen told ESPN: “We have paused the activation of our relationship with Ian and Graeme, recognizing the uncertainties around their standing with the PGA Tour.”
Mastercard is one of a number of sponsors to halt agreements with players off the back of them joining the Saudi-backed tournament – with Rocket Mortgage cutting ties with Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson losing his sponsorships from WorkDay, KPMG and Amstel.
Seeking to cement its place within world golf, governance of the rebel tournament is set to go to a board meeting of some of golf’s key figures to gain formal recognition in the world rankings – a move that although presents a challenge, would be key for the legitimecy of the new tour.