Westwood Blasts 'Unfair' LIV Critics And Responds To Threat Of Major Ban

The Englishman thinks the furore around the LIV Series is unjustified, insisting it's the same as any other tour

Lee Westwood during the first round of the 2022 Open
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lee Westwood says it is "unfair" that the LIV Golf Series is being singled out, but admits he knew there were risks attached in leaving the traditional tours for the controversial up-start venture.

The Englishman and his fellow LIV rebels have already been sanctioned by the PGA and DP World Tours for jumping ship to the Saudi-backed breakaway circuit, and now they face the prospect of being ineligible for the four Majors as of next year. 

In the build-up to the 150th Open, R&A CEO Martin Slumbers ruled out banning LIV Golf players but hinted the governing body would review its qualification criteria, and one avenue being explored is excluding anyone who is suspended from either the PGA or DP World Tour.

Video: What is LIV Golf?

It's also believed that if the R&A was to change its entry criteria, the other Major organisations would follow suit in what would be a potentially fatal blow for LIV in its bid to establish itself as a mainstay at the pinnacle of the men's game.

Asked if he had any concerns about his participation in future Majors, Westwood said: "Not really, no. I think anybody that signed up to the LIV events, there was an element of risk about not playing in Majors and things like that. 

"I don’t see why it should be like that, the four Majors for me stand alone. They’re four independent bodies and not on the other tours. The LIV Tour is just another tour in the same way the South African Tour is, the Asian Tour is and the Australasian Tour is, so to single out a tour is a bit unfair really."

Fellow Englishman and team member of LIV Golf's Majesticks GC Ian Poulter was booed by a section of fans on the Old Course's first tee, while Greg Norman, CEO of the up-start league, was told he wasn't welcome at Monday's Celebration of Champions or the Champions' Dinner on Tuesday evening. 

Westwood, however, added that he didn't experience any hostility from fans during a first-round 68 at the 150th Open, instead rounding on the media for "stoking" the flames of controversy. "I don’t think it had the potential (for that)," he said. "I think the media are stoking it up and doing as much as they can to aid that, but I think the general public just want to go out there and see good golf, no matter where it is being played or who is playing it."

Andrew Wright
Staff Writer

A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.

Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.

As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.

What's in Andy's bag?

Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)

3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus (15°)

Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)

Putter: TaylorMade Spider X

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x