Westwood Hoping To Continue Ryder Cup Career Despite LIV Golf Involvement

The former World No.1 does not think signing for the Saudi-backed series should threaten his chances of making a record 12th appearance for Europe

Lee Westwood does not feel signing for LIV Golf should mean the end of his Ryder Cup career
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lee Westwood does not believe signing for LIV Golf should spell the end of his glittering Ryder Cup career.

Europe’s joint all-time record appearance maker in the biennial competition feels that as long as he fulfils his responsibilities with the DP World Tour - formally the European Tour - there’s no reason why he and the other LIV Golf players shouldn’t continue their Ryder Cup careers. Westwood was one of 17 players fined £100,000 and banned from the upcoming Scottish Open after appearing in the first LIV event at Centurion Club near London earlier this month, and while Ryder Cup bans have not been dished out, they are one of a number of measures that are rumoured to have been discussed.

When asked about his Ryder Cup future ahead of the second LIV Golf event at Pumpkin Ridge in Portland, which starts on Thursday, Westwood did not mince his words.

“Why should it be threatened?” asked the 49-year-old former World No.1. “I've been playing Ryder Cup golf since 1997, and the criteria has been to be a member of the European Tour. Now, the criteria for being a member of the European Tour is to play four events. Why should they change that now? I've been a member of the PGA Tour and still played four events on the European Tour, and why would the European Tour change their rules so dramatically because another tour doesn't like it or feels financially threatened? There's just a bit too much protection going on for my liking and not enough transparency.

“I think as long as you fulfill the criteria to be a European Tour member, then you should still have the opportunity to try and qualify for the Ryder Cup team. I personally am disappointed with the European Tour's approach to it. I've been a European Tour member for 29 years, and a lot of those years I've also been a member of the PGA Tour, as well, and the European Tour, as long as I've played before, have never had any problems with me playing anywhere else, and now it seems to be a problem.”

Fellow LIV member Sergio Garcia feels his Ryder Cup future could be threatened. Europe’s record points scorer is hoping to be part of Henrik Stenson’s team at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome next year, but admits the decision may be out of his hands. He said: “I hope that I still have the possibility to be a part of a few more Ryder Cup teams, but that's not going to depend on us now. We'll just keep our fingers crossed.”

Earlier this week, Zach Johnson seemed to question whether any of the LIV Golf rebels would be available for selection for his Ryder Cup team. The US captain said the only way to earn Ryder Cup points is through the PGA of America, and the players were members of the PGA of America through the PGA Tour. Now those players, such as Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau have joined LIV Golf, Johnson suggested he couldn't see a path to them qualifying.

Jeff Kimber
Jeff Kimber

Jeff graduated from Leeds University in Business Studies and Media in 1996 and did a post grad in journalism at Sheffield College in 1997. His first jobs were on Slam Dunk (basketball) and Football Monthly magazines, and he's worked for the Sunday Times, Press Association and ESPN. He has faced golfing greats Sam Torrance and Sergio Garcia, but on the poker felt rather than the golf course. Jeff's favourite course played is Sandy Lane in Barbados, which went far better than when he played Matfen Hall in Northumberland, where he crashed the buggy on the way to the 1st tee!