Following news of how the PGA Tour’s new-look schedule is shaping up for 2024, LIV golfers Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Richard Bland have come out firing against the changes, highlighting apparent hypocrisy whilst questioning the Strategic Alliance with the DP World Tour.
A common criticism of LIV’s format has been the no-cut element of its 54-hole limited field events. Next year the PGA Tour schedule looks set to include 10 no-cut, limited field tournaments of their own and it was no surprise to see the unveiling grab the attention of Westwood et al.
“So.. Do away with the WGC’s. Load the OWGR in your favour. Create 10 limited field events for just PGA tour members (like WGC’s). Add to that 4 majors ,Players, FedEx Cup. That’s a full schedule for a top player,” Westwood wrote on Twitter.
“That’s growing the game… What Strategic Alliance?”
While the on and off ramps of the PGA Tour’s new rollout certainly trumps the meritocracy of LIV, there are enough parallels to be drawn between the two models to give credence to Westwood’s objections.
While Poulter quoted George Bernard Shaw to suggest that ‘imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery – it’s the sincerest form of learning’, Bland was quick to call-out the part a seemingly non-existent strategic alliance played in the making of this latest U.S.-centric decision.
“How does this help the so called strategic alliance with @dpworldtour?” he wrote.
“The 10 players will have zero chance of getting in these limited field events!! Making their chances of keeping their playing rights VERY difficult!! Just proves that the @pgatour have no interest in this alliance. And of course this is ‘growing the game’. $20 million, limited field, no cut… sound familiar.”
Hudson Swafford, another LIV player, replied: “It doesn’t help the @dpworldtour at all… sad!”
Westwood, clearly relishing the opportunity to stoke the fires of social media, added; “I’ve spent the last year reading how good full fields and cuts are!”
It’s hard to argue with the polarising Englishman on this count. LIV has clearly exposed some frailties within the PGA Tour system and this new, commercially driven mindset is focussed on bringing the best players together more often, guaranteeing sponsors star names for all four days, though at the expense of the very arguments they previously levelled against the Saudi-backed tour.
“I can’t wait to hear all the back tracking of comments from the last 7 months,” Poulter said, and while he likely won’t get his wish, it’s hard not to credit LIV Golf for shaking up the men’s professional game, perhaps more than ever.