'There are a lot of hypocrites' – Westwood suggests PGA Tour copying LIV Golf blueprint

By Sports Desk August 25, 2022

Lee Westwood has hit out at the PGA Tour for copying the LIV Golf International Series format, suggesting it is hypocritical for the former Tour to bemoan the Saudi-backed breakaway competition.

Former world number one Westwood is among a host of high-profile defectors to the controversial league, alongside the likes of Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka.

The Open champion Cameron Smith is reportedly the next big-name LIV Golf signing, as the organisation headed by Greg Norman continues to attempt to encourage star golfers to defect.

The decision to join LIV Golf has come with repercussions, though, with all breakaway golfers banned from competing on the PGA Tour – a matter some players are taking up in a legal battle.

While questions remain over the decision of the defectors, the format of the competition remains a topic of discussion, with players expecting to play in less competitions but for greater prize money.

The PGA Tour responded by committing its top players to at least 20 PGA Tour events per year, with four elevated events bringing purses of at least $20million and the bonus pool doubling to $100m.

After announcing the changes to the schedule, Westwood suggested the PGA Tour is attempting to copy the LIV Golf blueprint.

"I laugh at what the PGA Tour players have come up with," he told Golf Digest. "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."

As the PGA Tour continues to expand to compete with its new rivals, Westwood pinpointed the LIV Golf calendar as a key reason for his defection to the breakaway league.

"I'm looking forward to playing the LIV event in Miami at the end of October then not having to tee-up again until February," he said.

"I'll have four months off. At my age I can do some serious work in that time. I can get properly fit and come out leaner.

"I've just had a four-week break, three of those weeks I was on holiday. We have plans for later in the year and I’ll be able to spend more time with the family. It just gives me more options.

"Already I can say to people, 'these are the 14 weeks I'm playing next year.' And I can have some fun in the other 38."

Rory McIlroy has been among the more vocal critics of LIV Golf, but Westwood assures there has been no animosity among fellow professionals regardless of their allegiances.

"They have been asking questions mostly," he added. "They want to know what it is like at LIV.

"I think they all know how much I have supported the European Tour over the last 30 years. I doubt you'd find someone at my level who has supported it more. When I won in America in 1998, I stayed on the European Tour and turned down PGA Tour membership. When I won in 2010, I did the same.

"When I was world number one, I didn't go to America; I stayed on the European Tour. I stayed and played through COVID. Not many others did that.

"I've always loved the European Tour. Over my career, I've just dipped in and out of America."

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