Lee Westwood admits he’s been left amused by this week’s changes announced by the PGA Tour, claiming the upgrades are “just a copy of what LIV is doing”.
Speaking to Golf Digest, Westwood, who was one of the first players to commit to the Saudi-backed series, was reacting to news of the PGA Tour’s proposed 20-event schedule for top players next season. The plans include 12 new limited-field elevated events boasting $20m prize funds from 2023, plus the four Majors, the Players Championship and three more tournaments yet to be decided that will bring the game’s best players together more often.
“I laugh at what the PGA Tour players have come up with,” Westwood said. “It’s just a copy of what LIV is doing.
“There are a lot of hypocrites out there. They all say LIV is ‘not competitive’. They all point at the no-cut aspect of LIV and the short fields.
“Now, funnily enough, they are proposing 20 events that look a lot like LIV. Hopefully, at some point they will all choke on their words. And hopefully they will be held to account as we were in the early days.”
The PGA Tour would counter Westwood’s argument and point to the fact that at the beginning of the season, and unlike LIV, any player holding tour membership can play their way into these elevated events. There is incentive, consequences to playing well and not, but while the PGA Tour certainly looks to have strengthened, Westwood now fears for the future of the DP World Tour off the back of the announcements.
“I’m not convinced by the strategic alliance because I’ve seen how the PGA Tour has behaved over the years,” he added. “There’s not been much ‘give.’ They have always been bullies and now they are getting their comeuppance.
“All the PGA Tour has done since Tiger came on tour is up the prize purses. In turn, that has taken all the best players from Europe away from the European Tour.
“They’ve had to play in the States, taking all their world ranking points with them. That was their strategy: ‘Put up the money. Get all the players. Hog all the world ranking points.’ Which becomes self-perpetuating. What we have seen over the last few months is just LIV doing what the PGA Tour has done for the last 25 years.”