ATLANTA – Lee Westwood isn’t impressed with what the PGA Tour and commissioner Jay Monahan introduced Wednesday that can see a rise in elevated occasions with bigger purses and commitments from prime gamers to compete a minimal of 20 instances.
Westwood, 49, a longtime participant on each the PGA Tour and European Tour who signed with LIV Golf earlier this 12 months, advised Golf Digest that the Tour’s plans are “simply a copy’’ of what LIV Golf is doing.
“I snigger at what the PGA Tour gamers have give you,’’ Westwood stated of the plan unveiled on the Tour Championship. “It’s simply a copy of what LIV is doing. There are a lot of hypocrites on the market. They all say LIV is ‘not aggressive.’ They all level on the no-cut side of LIV and the quick fields.
“Now, funnily sufficient, they’re proposing 20 occasions that look a lot like LIV. Hopefully, in some unspecified time in the future they may all choke on their phrases. And hopefully, they are going to be held to account as we had been within the early days.’’
Westwood was referencing the truth that many have steered LIV shouldn’t be a aggressive tour on account of enjoying simply 54-hole occasions with solely 48 gamers, no cuts and set fields.
The PGA Tour has not precisely copied that mannequin. It gained’t have 54-hole occasions and plenty of of the elevated tournaments will nonetheless be larger fields with cuts. There can be no staff side, like LIV is using. But the $20 million purses and getting the perfect gamers to compete in the identical occasions are much like the LIV mannequin.
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Westwood, who has 25 European Tour (now DP World Tour) victories to rank eighth all-time, has resigned his PGA Tour membership however remains to be enjoying the DP World Tour and stated he plans to play its flagship occasion, the BMW PGA Championship, subsequent month.
But he stated he’s involved about its future and its relationship with the PGA Tour, which entered into an alliance a few years in the past and adjusted qualification standards earlier this 12 months that can see the highest 10 gamers on the DP World Tour earn exempt standing on the PGA Tour.
“I’m not satisfied by the strategic alliance as a result of I’ve seen how the PGA Tour has behaved through the years,’’ Westwood stated. “There’s not a lot “give.’ They have at all times been bullies and now they’re getting their comeuppance. All the PGA Tour has accomplished since Tiger (Woods) got here on tour is up the prize purses. In flip, that has taken all the perfect gamers from Europe away from the European Tour.
“They’ve needed to play within the States, taking all their world rating factors with them. That was their technique: ‘Put up the Money. Get all of the gamers. Hog all of the world rating factors.’ Which turns into self-perpetuating. What we now have seen over the previous couple of months is simply LIV doing what the PGA Tour has accomplished for the final 25 years.’’
Despite appreciable vitriol, Westwood stated he has not skilled any from fellow gamers.
“They have been asking questions principally,’’ he stated. “They wish to know what it’s like at LIV. I feel all of them know the way a lot I’ve supported the European Tour over the past 30 years. I doubt you’d discover somebody at my stage who has supported it extra. When I gained in America in 1998, I stayed on the European Tour and turned down PGA Tour membership. When I gained in 2010, I did the identical.
“When I used to be world No. 1, I didn’t go to America; I stayed on the European Tour. I stayed and performed via COVID. Not many others did that. I ‘ve always loved the European Tour. Over my career I’ve simply dipped out and in of America.’’