DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley has hit back at LIV Golf rebels and says sanctions imposed on players were "proportionate and fair".

Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter were among 16 DP World Tour members who were last week fined £100,000 and banned from playing in three events – the first being the Scottish Open next week.

They were sanctioned by the DP World Tour for playing in the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series event at Centurion Club without permission last month.

In an open letter, which was addressed to Pelley, published by The Telegraph, the 16 players threatened to take legal action against the DP World Tour if the fines and suspensions were not rescinded.

They also claimed that the DP World Tour is playing "second fiddle" to the PGA Tour in an extended relationship between the two.

Pelley provided a strong response as he refused to back down on Friday.

He said in a statement: "There has been a leak to the media of a letter we received on behalf of a number of LIV Golf players which contains so many inaccuracies that it cannot remain unchallenged.

"Before joining LIV Golf, players knew there would be consequences if they chose money over competition. Many of them at the time understood and accepted that. Indeed, as one player named in the letter said in a media interview earlier this year; 'If they ban me, they ban me.' It is not credible that some are now surprised with the actions we have taken.

"The letter claims that these players 'care deeply' for the DP World Tour. An analysis of the past participation statistics on our Tour in recent years of several of the leading players named suggests otherwise

"One player in particular named in the note has only played six Rolex Series events in the past five years. Another one, only four. I wish many of them had been as keen to play on our Tour then as they seem to be now, based on the fact they have either resigned their membership of the PGA Tour or, if they are still in membership, have been suspended indefinitely.

"Furthermore, given how deeply these players say they care about the DP World Tour, perhaps some of them could have played in Ireland this week in support of our new title sponsor, in particular one player who gave us a signed commitment to play at Mount Juliet.

"With that player currently in action at Pumpkin Ridge, you can imagine the allegation in the letter that we are in the wrong, is hard to accept.

"We also take great exception to an allegation made near the end of the letter which states we are somehow playing 'second fiddle' to the PGA Tour. Nothing could be further from the truth.

"We held a player meeting in Ireland on Tuesday where we outlined in great detail all the many benefits of our expanded relationship with the PGA Tour.

"One of those is an unprecedented ten cards on offer to the PGA Tour, cards that many of the players named in this letter desperately wanted to attain in the early stages of their careers. Why now be critical of those trying to do the same?

"The letter also expresses supposed concern about the future of the DP World Tour. Rest assured no-one should have any worries on that score.

"The DP World Tour is a vibrant, independent and global Tour with increasing and guaranteed prize fund growth over the next five years. We have fantastic tournaments across the year including a host of wonderful national Opens, all played in front of huge crowds, illustrated perfectly by this week's Irish Open.

"Finally, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on any potential legal matters.

"I will simply reiterate that our Members' Regulations which have been in force for more than 30 years, have been accepted by all the players, are there to protect all of our members, and we will use them to take all necessary steps to protect their interests.

"The sanctions for those members who knowingly broke our rules by playing at the Centurion Club without a release are proportionate, fair and, I believe, considered necessary by the majority of our members."