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Lee Westwood is one of the most known figures in the game of golf, with a career spanning four decades, that includes 44 professional wins worldwide, as well as 11 Ryder Cup appearances.
Over the past few months, the Englishman has left the PGA Tour circuit and jumped to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series. Now, in an exclusive interview with Golf Digest (opens in new tab), Westwood has given his thoughts on an array of topics, including the strategic alliance between the DP World and PGA Tours, as well as the recent changes announced by the PGA Tour to combat LIV Golf.
“I’m not convinced by the strategic alliance because I’ve seen how the PGA Tour has behaved over the years,” states the 49-year-old, who turns 50 in just six months time. “There’s not been much ‘give.’ They have always been bullies and now they are getting their comeuppance.
"All the PGA Tour has done since Tiger came on tour is up the prize purses. In turn, that has taken all the best players from Europe away from the European Tour. They’ve had to play in the States, taking all their World Ranking points with them. That was their strategy: ‘Put up the money. Get all the players. Hog all the World Ranking points', which becomes self-perpetuating. What we have seen over the last few months is just LIV doing what the PGA Tour has done for the last 25 years.”
His comments have also been backed up by fellow countryman, Richard Bland, who recently stated: “I personally think this deal they’ve just done is awful. How can you give your 10 best players to the PGA Tour every single year? I don’t get it."
Featuring in all three of the opening LIV Golf events, Westwood has earned around $1.5 million for his troubles, with $500,000 of that coming in the team portion of the tournaments.
Recently, the PGA Tour announced multiple changes which included the introduction of four elevated events, as well as a Player Impact Program purse that will increase to $100m.
These increases haven't sat well with Westwood however, with the 25-time European Tour winner stating: “I laugh at what the PGA Tour players have come up with. It’s just a copy of what LIV is doing, there are a lot of hypocrites out there. They all say LIV is ‘not competitive.’ They all point at the no-cut aspect of LIV and the ‘short fields.’
"Now, funnily enough, they are proposing 20 events that look a lot like LIV. Hopefully, at some point they will all choke on their words. And hopefully, they will be held to account as we were in the early days.”
Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
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