Mastercard has stopped its endorsement deals with Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell following their decision to partake in the LIV golf tour, according to ESPN.
Their involvement in the controversial Saudi-backed tour has also led the pair to be suspended from the PGA Tour. Poulter has had a contract with the payments firm since 2009 and McDowell has had one since 2011.
“We have paused the activation of our relationship with Ian and Graeme, recognising the uncertainties around their standing with the PGA Tour,” stated Mastercard’s Vice President of Communications, Seth Eisen.
The tour has received backlash as Saudi Arabia has been accused of ‘sportswashing’ – using sports to deflect from a poor reputation in other areas, such as human rights.
The country however has hosted several other major sports events, such as boxing, a Formula One race and WWE pay-per-views.
It is unclear if the decision is a permanent one, and Poulter was one of three players to file a lawsuit to challenge his suspension from the Genesis Scottish Open.
Mastercard joins several other companies in halting endorsement deals with players who have joined the tour. For example, Rocket Mortgage is no longer working with Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson lost sponsorships from WorkDay, KPMG and Amstel.