'I Don’t Want To Play Under That Sort Of Regime' - Westwood's Parting Shot At Pelley

Lee Westwood says the DP World Tour is being bullied after "jumping into bed" with the PGA Tour

Lee Westwood
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lee Westwood has expressed his sadness at resigning from the DP World Tour, but still feels sanctions against him and his other LIV Golf colleagues were unjustified while hitting out at Keith Pelley for "jumping into bed" with the PGA Tour.

Westwood, along with Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia and Richard Bland all resigned from the DP World Tour after being hit with fines for playing in the first LIV Golf event in London last year.

After Pelley’s organisation won an arbitration ruling in their favour, Westwood decided to call it quits on the DP World Tour after a stellar career – to avoid repeat fines and to try and move on from the entire sorry saga.

The 50-year-old told The Telegraph’s James Corrigan that he decided to pay his fine and move on, but still feels wronged by the entire situation.

 “I’ve had amazing times, including all those Ryder Cups,” Westwood told The Telegraph.

“I wouldn’t change those years for the world and feel I made a contribution to the tour. I never would have believed it had ended like this and there has to be a bit of sadness, of course.

“At my age, sure it was maybe easier to choose to resign. But this wasn’t a straightforward decision and not one I have taken lightly at all.

“I mulled it over and just didn’t like the thought of the tour continuously hitting us with more fines and bans that would have been hanging over me. I’ve paid my fine out of respect for the arbitration panel and have then taken the decisions out of the tour’s hands. I honestly want to move on.”

Lee Westwood Henrik Stenson and Ian Poulter at LIV Golf

Lee Westwood Henrik Stenson and Ian Poulter at LIV Golf

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Westwood hit back at critics who say the LIV players knew they were risking their futures on the tour, saying that for years they’ve been allowed to play on the PGA Tour and internationally.

And the irony of a major problem being Saudi Arabia, where the DP World Tour hosted an event, is not lost on the Worksop golfer.

“People say I knew exactly what would happen, but nobody told us the extent of the punishments,” he said. “And they continue to do that.

“The way I view it is that, as a European Tour member, I was allowed to be a member of the PGA Tour without any problem for all those years. Tell me, what is the difference? Just because LIV is funded by the Saudis – a country where my tour used to play and where we were encouraged to play?”

I don’t want to play under that sort of regime

Another bugbear of the Englishman is the strategic alliance between the DP World and PGA Tour, again claiming that European golf is now merely a feeder tour for the American giant.

“I’ve been a dual member of the European Tour and PGA Tour, but always said I was a European Tour member first and foremost and that I had fears about the US circuit basically being bullies and doing everything it could to secure global dominance. Check my old quotes, it’s all there.

“But now, in my opinion, the European Tour has jumped fully in bed with the PGA Tour and even though Keith (Pelley) says he hates to hear it, it is now a feeder tour for the PGA Tour. 

"The top 10 players on the tour, not already exempt this year, have a pathway to the PGA Tour – that’s giving our talent away. That was never the tour’s policy before this 'strategic alliance'.

“Sorry, I don’t want to play under that sort of regime. Like, I always played on the Asian Tour, and got releases no problem. 

"But then they said I shouldn’t play in the Indonesian Open at the end of last year. Come on. No thanks, I don’t want to play that game. Anyway, I’ve said all this before. It should be obvious why I’ve resigned.”

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.