Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood were quick to pour cold water on the hot topic causing controversy in golf, with both players suggesting there’s nothing to get up and arms about when it comes to this week’s first LIV Golf Invitational.
The English pair have previously competed at the then European Tour’s Saudi International and the self-described global golfers are struggling to see the difference when it comes to teeing up in the new Saudi-backed series.
“We’ve played on the European Tour in Saudi Arabia over a number of years and the event has been a big event, it’s had a world-class field,” said Poulter. “It’s been a world-class tournament.
“I don’t believe it should be controversial, as Lee touched on there are eight events this year, 10 next year, 14 the year after, there is plenty of room to be able to have other great tournaments on other great tours we would like to compete in as well.
“The legacy standpoint is I’m trying to provide for my family which is the first and foremost thing I want to do, I come to work to play golf and that’s my job at the end of the day.
“I love it, I love playing golf, I love the opportunity LIV gives us from a standpoint of playing, slightly less golf which gives me the ability to be fresher to be ready to go. It’s a magnificent opportunity I’m really looking forward to.”
Westwood echoed Poulter’s sentiments, declaring he’s educated enough on the subject to feel comfortable with his decision to defect.
“We’ve all played in Saudi Arabia already, we’ve been given releases by the PGA Tour to play there and the European Tour has held events there,” said Westwood.
“This is no different really, so I feel educated on it, it’s something I’ve done in the past. As independent contractors we can basically play where we want.”
Both players have been stalwarts of the Ryder Cup throughout their careers and although both would’ve been seen as lock-ins for European Captaincy in the coming years, they admit that decision no longer rests in their hands.
“We don’t know (if they are putting Ryder Cup futures in jeopardy),” said Poulter. “I’d like to think it wouldn’t, all the golf I’ve played around the world in all the different countries and tours I don’t see why this should be any different.
“It’s an unknown risk, we don’t know how DP World Tour will view it, it’s obviously a factor.”
“It’s something I have to take into account, I’m not sure about the playing days, I’m 50 next April. Captaincy could be in jeopardy as well, but Ian pretty much covered it all,” added Westwood.
“What I will say is myself and Ian have been members of the PGA Tour while we’ve been on the European Tour and that’s had no effect in the past on whether people have been captains.
“LIV Golf is another tour so why should it be any different?”