Lee Westwood Confirms Saudi Arabia, LIV Golf Tournament, PGA Tour, DP World Tour, Video, Greg Norman

Lee Westwood confirmed on Wednesday that he has asked to be released from the US and European golf tours so he can compete in the first event of a lucrative Saudi-backed series next month.

The 49-year-old former British world number one said he had applied to both Tours for permission to play the $25million LIV Golf Invitational at the Centurion Club near London from June 9-11.

The money spinning series will feature eight tournaments across three continents, with players competing as individuals and in teams.

“I’ve been asking for tournament releases since I’ve been on the Tour,” Westwood said ahead of the British Masters which starts at The Belfry on Thursday.

“I haven’t heard anything yet. The ball is in the court of the European Tour (DP World Tour) and the PGA Tour for that matter.

“It’s my job,” he added.

“I’m doing this for the money. That’s not the only reason to do it. But if someone comes along and gives one of us a chance to get a raise, then you have to seriously think about it, right?

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Lee Westwood of England and Team Europe and Sergio Garcia of Spain and Team Europe greet each other after Sunday’s singles matches of the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits on September 26, 2021 in Kohler, Wisconsin . Photo: Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Six-time Major winner Phil Mickelson has asked to be released from the PGA Tour so he can compete in the LIV Golf event and reigning British Masters champion Richard Bland has confirmed he has taken a similar step.

“It’s being described as an ‘us and them’ situation, as the folks at LIV Golf have said they want to stand shoulder to shoulder,” Westwood said.

“They don’t come up against any of the really massive tournaments.

“They want everyone to be able to play, to have options. They’re not forcing anyone’s hand, so I believe.

“People always have a problem with change, don’t they? They are skeptical about it and people like the continuity, whereas the competitive change is good in all areas I think.

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Lee Westwood hits a shot during a practice round before the Betfred British Masters hosted by Danny Willett at The Belfry on May 03, 2022 in Sutton Coldfield, England. Photo: Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

But when asked if the source of the money – the Saudi Public Investment Fund – was a problem for him, Westwood said sports and politics shouldn’t mix.

He pointed out that he had played in Saudi Arabia in European Tour sanctioned tournaments.

“I am convinced that sport and politics should not mix, as we saw at Wimbledon, Russian players were not allowed to play there,” he said.

“I happen to disagree with what they did there, like a lot of people do.”

The big-money LIV series will offer $25 million in prize money per tournament, making each stage more lucrative than the PGA Tour’s richest event, with roughly double the prize money up for grabs in each. of the four major golf tournaments.

Michael C. Ford