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The Telegraph

Ryder Cup stars hit out at LPGA Tour’s treatment of Troon hero Sophia Popov

Europe’s Ryder Cup heavyweights have lined up to criticise the LPGA Tour for its bizarre, if not disgraceful, treatment of Sophia Popov since the German won the AIG Women’s Open last weekend. Ian Poulter, Tommy Fleetwood and Thomas Bjorn all expressed their disgust at the Troon hero not only being denied entry to the second major of the season – the Ana Inspiration in two weeks’ time – but also the usual five-year exemption as a Tour member. It is fair to say that Mike Whan, the LPGA commissioner, felt under increasing pressure on Friday after Poulter called the Tour “embarrassing to the game of golf” and Fleetwood termed it “stupid to say the least”. Yet perhaps Bjorn, the 2018 captain, summed up the bewilderment and anger best of all. “It’s amazing that @LPGA and @LPGACommish haven’t reacted yet,” Bjorn tweeted. “Golf is again the laughing stock of the sports world due to having rules that don’t make any sense.” The LPGA is not for turning, however, with Whan later going on to the Tour’s official website to point out that the Ana Inspiration field was already fixed because it was postponed in March and that the rules only grant Popov two years grace for Tour playing privileges. In a complicated scenario, Popov is disqualified from both because she was not a “full” LPGA Tour member when stunning the world in Ayrshire, after missing out her card by a mere shot at last year’s Q School.

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