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