Lee Westwood’s former agent has explained that he is not surprised that he and other older players chose to join LIV Golf.
Andrew ‘Chubby’ Chandler represented the former World No.1 for 24 years before they went their separate ways in 2017. The CEO of International Sports Management told The Mirror (opens in new tab) that for the likes of Westwood, the move to the big-money venture came as no surprise. He said: “Not at all. And not at all for anybody over 40. For Sergio [Garcia], [Ian] Poulter it was obvious, [Henrik] Stenson, Richard Bland, all these guys there was no doubt that this was a wonderful carrot for them and to get in at the beginning.”
Video: What Is LIV Golf?
The PGA Tour has introduced unprecedented changes to quell the threat of LIV Golf, including offering substantially higher purses at several of its tournaments in 2023. However, in Chandler’s opinion, that move will make little difference to players who are no longer competing regularly to win PGA Tour events. “All the added riches in the world to the PGA Tour are not going to make that much difference to Poulter, Westwood, Stenson because they are past it. They wouldn’t like me saying it, but their days of supreme competition are probably gone,” explained Chandler.
On the other hand, Chandler said he could see the appeal of LIV Golf’s shorter format for players beyond their peak years. He said: “Three rounds, and slightly less pressured stuff is probably right up their street.”
One of the downsides for European players joining LIV Golf has been uncertainty over their futures in the Ryder Cup. Westwood is one of several players who would be a strong candidate for next year’s tournament if it were not for his move. Garcia and Poulter also have strong records in the competition, while Stenson had been named Team Europe’s captain before joining the organisation.
However, Chandler thinks the players made the move fully aware of the potential ramifications. He said: “When they took the jump I don’t think they expected anything else. I think their days as a bog-standard European Tour players were finished and probably the LIV lawyers have said this is probably against this, that and the other. And they [the players] are the ones who came up with the opposition to it.”
Chandler also represented Rory McIlroy in the early part of his career. The Northern Irishman has been a vocal supporter of the PGA Tour amid the LIV Golf threat, and Chandler said that has always been part of his character: “I think he has always had an opinion, Rory. Whether he was 16, 18, 20, 25, 30, he has always had an opinion.
"He has an opinion that everybody wants to listen to and if you asked honestly if he had wished he hadn’t said a couple of the things he had said, he probably wished he hadn’t. But that is Rory, his whole life he has never been afraid of saying something and apologising for getting it wrong.”
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Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories.
He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game.
Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course.
Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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