Lee Westwood says PGA Tour is only changing a ‘copy’ of LIV Golf
Lee Westwood, a former world No. 1, mocked Thursday the major changes the PGA Tour announced Wednesday in response to the LIV Golf threat, calling those who tore the rival league apart as hypocrites.
Westwood – one of the players to defect to the rival Saudi-funded LIV Golf Invitational series – said the PGA Tour now uses many of the same ideas as the new Tour.
« I laugh at what the PGA Tour players have come up with, » Westwood told Golf Digest in an interview published Thursday. “It’s just a copy of what LIV does. There are a lot of hypocrites out there. They all say LIV is not competitive. They all point to LIV’s no-cut look and short fields.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said Wednesday that the best players on the PGA Tour have committed to play in at least 20 tournaments, including 13 high-profile events that will have average prize money of $20 million. Eight of the events have already been announced.
“Now, funnily enough, they have 20 events that look a lot like LIV,” Westwood, 49, said. « I hope at some point they all choke on their words. And I hope they’re held accountable like we were at the start.
Nevertheless, there is a big difference between the two towers. Most PGA Tour tournaments are 72 holes and have 36-hole cuts; while LIV Golf events are 54 holes without cuts.
Monahan has suspended more than two dozen PGA Tour players, including former grand champions Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed, for playing LIV tournaments without exiting contentious PGA Tour events.
Trying to stem the tide of more big-name defections from LIV, the PGA Tour also announced it was increasing the Player Impact Program (PIP) funds to $100 million, with the top 20 players rewarded through the fund. . The PIP program is weighted on different “notoriety criteria” and will no longer be solely based on a Q score or social media reach. They also announced a guaranteed minimum of $500,000 against winnings for all exempt players.
Despite these changes on the Tour, further defections from LIV are on the way. The new league will announce seven new additions after the conclusion of this week’s FedEx Cup Tour Championship, according to Alan Shipnuck of The Fire Pit Collective. One of them would be Cam Smith, who won the British Open and Players Championship this year.
Westwood also said the PGA Tour has dealt with the DP World Tour, formerly known as the European Tour, for years despite their recent strategic alliance. The DP Tour also suspended and fined its members for participating in LIV golf tournaments.
« I’m not convinced by the strategic alliance because I’ve seen how the PGA Tour has fared over the years, » said Westwood, who in 2010 became the first British golfer since Nick Faldo to become the player No. 1 in the world. . « There’s not a lot of ‘give’. They’ve always been bullies and now they’re getting their reward.
Westwood also said LIV Golf has been following the PGA Tour blueprint for the last quarter century.
« Everything the PGA Tour has done since Tiger [Woods] came on tour is in scholarships,” Westwood said. « In turn, that took all the best players in Europe away from the European Tour. They had to play in the United States, taking all their world ranking points with them. That was their strategy: ‘Put in the money. Get all the players.Snag all the points in the world leaderboard.
“Which becomes self-perpetuating. What we’ve seen over the past few months is just that LIV is doing what the PGA Tour has been doing for the past 25 years.
When asked by Golf Digest if he was bothered by LIV Golf’s funding source, Saudi Arabia’s Wealth Fund, Westwood stuck to a familiar answer that many LIV golfers have said. given since they joined the new circuit.
“Questions about the Saudi government and its policies are unanswered,” Westwood said. « My answer is just to try not to answer it. I’m not a politician; I’m a golfer. But I know sport can be used as change for good.
Westwood said he also believes there is a double standard between golf and other sports that have or do business with Saudi Arabia.
I don’t understand why golf is so under attack,” Westwood said. « Why soccer [soccer] not be held at the same level to have the World Cup in Qatar? Why was [heavyweight boxer] Isn’t Anthony Joshua more criticized for fighting in Jeddah last week? »