‘The R&A Won't Put Their Foot Down' - Lee Westwood Reveals Eye-Watering DP World Tour Fine And Why He Can't Play Senior Open

The former World No.1 says the only senior Major he cannot play is The Senior Open Championship due to outstanding fines owed to the European Tour

Lee Westwood during day one of LIV Golf Adelaide 2024
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Former World No.1 Lee Westwood has revealed he has outstanding fines of over $1 million for competing in the LIV Golf League while still a European Tour member, but insists he will not pay them.

Westwood joined LIV alongside fellow Englishman Ian Poulter back in 2022 and maintained his DP World Tour card for a time before eventually resigning that membership with the circuit on which he played for almost 30 years.

But before the Majesticks co-captain did so, the figure which the 51-year-old was being fined continued to rise at quite a rate.

Several LIV players - including Westwood and Poulter - appealed against such fines being enforceable but ultimately lost their battle in April 2023, with arbitration panel Sport Resolutions UK stating after a decision was reached that those members "committed serious breaches of the code of behaviour of the DP World Tour regulations by playing in [LIV Golf events] despite their release requests having been refused."

Speaking to Peter Finch's podcast, The Rough Cut, Westwood explained the position he is now in and his plans for the future which would have involved teeing it up in all three senior Majors.

However, due to the extraordinary fine that Westwood is yet to pay - said to be $1,083,333.50 (£850,000) - the four-time European Tour Golfer of the Year has effectively been barred from doing so.

Westwood said: "I can play in certain senior Majors. I can actually play in the Senior PGA [Championship] the week after next, but there's so much travelling for me coming up with LIV events in Houston and Nashville [I won't].

"And then it's the US Senior Open, which I'm actually playing in, and then there are tournaments in Valderrama and JCB coming quickly... the only one I can't play in is the Senior British Open Championship because it's half owned by the European Tour.

"The R&A won't put their foot down and say 'no, this is an Open Championship. Lee and Richard Bland should be able to play.' They pander to the European Tour and say that if we pay our fines - I think my outstanding fines are at £850,000 or something like that.

"Well, I'm not paying them because I disagree with the way they've been handed out. So that's why I can't play in the Seniors Open Championship, but I think the fans lose out there, personally."

After confirming that the US Senior Open would be Westwood's bow in senior Major golf, the seven-time Ryder Cup winner continued his critical assessment of golfing governing bodies by turning attention to the European Tour.

Lee Westwood at LIV Golf Andalucia

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The man who has 44 professional wins to his name claimed that two key players who have crossed the PGA Tour/DP World Tour divide to LIV Golf more recently are facing much smaller penalties.

Initially asked how the Wentworth-based circuit formulate fines for individual players, Westwood said: "It's just a number they come to each week for playing in LIV events up against European Tour events. They're not even consistent with it. They're fining Tyrell [Hatton] and John Rahm different numbers now.

"It's not [an ongoing thing] with me. Mine has stayed at that figure because I resigned my membership with the European Tour, but they haven't, and now they're getting fined a figure. But it's nowhere near the figure that myself, Ian Poulter, and a few others got fined. So there's no consistency in their fines."

Jonny Leighfield
Staff Writer

Jonny Leighfield is our Staff News Writer who joined Golf Monthly just in time for the 2023 Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup. He graduated from the University of Brighton with a degree in Sport Journalism in 2017 and spent almost five years as the sole sports reporter at his local newspaper. An improving golfer who still classes himself as ‘one of the worst players on the Golf Monthly team’, Jonny enjoys playing as much as he can and is hoping to reach his Handicap goal of 18 at some stage. He attended both the 150th and 151st Opens and is keen to make it an annual pilgrimage.