Lee Westwood To Miss First Open In 28 Years After Skipping Final Qualifying

The Englishman will miss the Major at Royal Liverpool along with fellow LIV Golf player Ian Poulter

Lee Westwood takes a shot at the 2023 Saudi International
Lee Westwood will miss his first Open since 1995
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The 2023 Open will see 156 players tee it up at Royal Liverpool. However, that number will not include LIV Golf player Lee Westwood.

That’s because he has opted against taking part in next week’s final qualifying for the Major, which would have represented his last chance to appear.

The 50-year-old has an enviable record in the tournament. Even though he has never won it, he has achieved six top-10 finishes including runner-up in 2010. Westwood has also not missed The Open since 1995.

Final qualifying comes during a busy period for the Englishman, with the LIV Golf League resuming at Valderrama in Spain this week after a month-long break.

The circuit then moves to the Centurion Club near London for the ninth tournament of the season the week after, with final qualifying for The Open taking place between the two events next Tuesday at four venues around the UK.

Westwood isn’t the only LIV Golf player who has opted against one final attempt to reach the tournament. His Majesticks GC teammate Ian Poulter has also chosen not to compete in final qualifying. That’s despite his earlier effort to reach the tournament with a trip to Hong Kong in March to play in the World City Championship, which offered four qualifying berths.

Despite making the cut, the 2008 Open runner-up finished seven shots back of the top four finish he needed to qualify for this year’s tournament.

One LIV Golf player who hasn’t given up is Sergio Garcia. The Spaniard will go through the gruelling 36-hole qualifier at West Lancashire as he attempts to make his 25th successive appearance at the tournament. The 43-year-old had enjoyed an exemption to the tournament thanks to his 2017 Masters victory, but that ran out last year.

Like Westwood, Poulter and many other LIV Golf players, qualifying for Majors has become increasingly difficult for Garcia as he has fallen down the Official World Golf Rankings, with LIV Golf unable to offer world ranking points.

Garcia has previously demonstrated his willingness to take whatever opportunity he can to qualify for Majors, though. In May, he opted for a similar route to reach the US Open, making it through a stacked field in final qualifying to reach his 24th consecutive appearance at the tournament.

While we await Garcia’s progress, Westwood’s absence will be felt particularly keenly. As well as his solid performances in the Major over the years, this will be the first time he has missed out since 1995. It is also just four years since he finished tied for fourth at Royal Portrush.

Despite Westwood and Poulter's decision not to compete in final qualifying, there are plenty of other LIV Golf players who will, including Graeme McDowell, Cameron Tringale, Dean Burmester, Carlos Ortiz, Peter Uihlein, Charl Schwartzel, Mito Pereira, Jason Kokrak, Sebastian Munoz, Anirban Lahiri, Marc Leishmann and Matt Jones.

Elsewhere, PGA Championship hero Michael Block will also use final qualifying to try and reach the tournament for the first time. 

Mike Hall

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.