Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell became the latest golfers to run into issues with sponsors over their involvement with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf league this week after Mastercard announced it was pausing its endorsement deals with the duo. 

Seth Eisen, Mastercard’s vice president of communications, told Sports Business Journal Friday that the company had “paused” its relationship with the two because of “the uncertainties around their standing with the PGA Tour.

Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland on the seventh during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick.

Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland on the seventh during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick.
(Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

“We appreciate the role they have played as ambassadors for Mastercard and the Tour for the past several years.”

IAN POULTER, TWO OTHERS WIN SCOTTISH OPEN BAN APPEAL: ‘IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO’

Poulter and McDowell began their relationships with Mastercard in 2009 and 2011, respectively. 

Poulter is competing in the Scottish Open this week after a British court granted him a temporary stay from the DP World Tour’s ban on players who competed in the first-ever LIV Golf event in London last month

Ian Poulter of England looks over a putt on the 15th green during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard at Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Golf Course March 3, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. 

Ian Poulter of England looks over a putt on the 15th green during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard at Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Golf Course March 3, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. 
(Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

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“I didn’t have any other choice, did I? I had to appeal. I’m not going to sit back when I feel it’s slightly unjust,” Poulter said earlier this week. “It was the right thing to do.”

The bans included fines of around $120,000 and barred those players from competing in the Scottish Open, the Barbasol Championship and the Barracuda Championship — all events co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour. 

The Tour announced its own indefinite ban in May on players competing in LIV Golf events without releases from the PGA Tour or those who resigned their membership to do so. 

Several other players have lost sponsorships over the controversy. 

Dustin Johnson of the United States plays his shot from the 14th tee during the final round of the RBC Heritage June 21, 2020, at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island, S.C. 

Dustin Johnson of the United States plays his shot from the 14th tee during the final round of the RBC Heritage June 21, 2020, at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island, S.C. 
(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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RBC, which sponsors the Heritage and the Canadian Open, ended its partnership with Dustin Johnson and McDowell after they announced deals with LIV Golf. Rocket Mortgage also ended its partnership with Bryson DeChambeau, citing the Rocket Mortgage Classic and its relationship with the PGA Tour.



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