Golf’s bitter civil war continued its rocky relationship over the weekend as LIV defector Adrian Otegi claimed a six-shot victory at Valderrama.
It was the 29-year-old’s fourth win on the DP World Tour and it came despite the Spanish golfer playing in three LIV tournaments in his first season.
Otegui was able to play in the tournament because he was one of three professionals – along with Ian Poulter and Justin Harding – who sought and received a ban from the Scottish Open. A hearing in February will determine whether people like Otegi can continue to play on tour.
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The Telegraph’s Golf correspondent James Corrigan said his win was a small victory for the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series.
“While Adrian Otega’s victory at the Andalucia Masters on Sunday was unlikely to cause much fanfare – apart from social media, of course – there is no doubt that the Spaniard’s dominant success would have been celebrated on the circuit in Saudi Arabia and mourned in the corridors of DP . World Tour’s Wentworth Headquarters,” Corrigan wrote Telegraph.
Indeed, there was little fanfare surrounding Otaega’s record, where he finished the tournament at 19-under, six strokes clear of Joakim Lagergren and three more than Australia’s Ming Woo Lee.
As he began the final day with a blistering six shots, Tour veteran and fellow LIV defector Lee Westwood took a shot at the DP World Tour, questioning why Otega had received so little attention.
European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald also got people talking about his own tweet, where the Briton wrote a clear message.
“Pretty dominant performance by Adrian Otega who set the tournament record around Valderrama – impressive mental and physical control on one of the toughest courses in Europe,” Donald tweeted.
His tweet contains many questions still hanging about next year’s tournament in Rome, and defectors from LIV are unlikely to be allowed to play.
This came despite John Rahm calling for the players to be allowed to play, insisting that “the Ryder Cup is not the PGA Tour and the European Tour vs. LIV is Europe vs. USA, period.”
As Corrigan pointed out, the irony is that Otaegui has been scratched from the past three LIV events, with the field limited to 48 players.
However, Otega’s win showed that he would be a top 20 player in LIV if judged purely on current form rather than pedigree.
Still, February’s decision carries significant weight given that he hasn’t earned an LIV Golf Series selection in recent weeks.
It comes as Brooks Koepka ended his unlucky streak at the LIV Golf Series by winning a playoff to claim the A$7.6 million first prize.
By comparison, Otegi took home just A$792,656 for his win.