On Wednesday the PGA Tour announced a plan to fight back against the threat of upstart tour LIV Golf. It wasn’t long before one of LIV’s key figures hit back.
Speaking to Golf Digest, former world No. 1 Lee Westwood – one of the first players to get involved with LIV – was outspoken in assessing the PGA’s plan to create a 20-tournament schedule for the top players. In short, he had seen it all before.
“I laugh at what the players on the PGA Tour came up with” he said. “It’s just a copy of what LIV does. There are many hypocrites out there. They all say LIV is ‘uncompetitive’. They all point to the no-cut aspect of LIV and the short fields. Now, funnily enough, they are suggesting 20 events that look a lot like LIV. Hopefully they all choke on their words at some point. And hopefully they will be held accountable like we were in the early days.”
Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and other top PGA Tour pros have spearheaded a campaign to try and stem the flow of players to LIV. The result is a 20-tournament schedule for the top players to compete for bigger purses averaging around $20 million.
The tour also plans to double its Player Impact Program bonus pool to $100 million, spread across 20 players, and is changing the criteria to be more focused on media exposure.
Players starting their careers will receive $500,000 at the beginning of the year which will be counted towards their earnings until the number is exceeded.
Also, the Tour has already banned players who have joined LIV Golf – some have resigned – once playing in Greg Norman’s opposing league.
LIV Golf, backed by the Public Investment Fund in Saudi Arabia, has paid big names – such as Phil Mickelson, DustinJohnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Kopka – massive signing fees worth $150 million or more.
Each event has a $25 million prize pool for a 48-man field over 54 holes. The single winner of the LIV event will receive $4 million. The money was attractive for attracting about two dozen PGA Tour players.
Westwood made it clear that he remains completely satisfied with his decision to join LIV. Unlike some of his LIV golf peers, who are fighting a legal battle to retain their PGA Tour memberships, he has agreed to playing fewer events and traveling less as he celebrates his 50th birthday in April next year. birthday is approaching.
“My age was obviously part of my decision-making process,” he said. “Then there’s the fact that the LIV tournaments are 54 holes, not 72. I saw that as an advantage. I also looked at the senior tour schedule. Even there, they encourage guys to play up to 25 events. … That’s a lot for a senior, and of course there’s 10x prize money in the LIV events.
“Anyway, the bottom line is that I did exactly what I said I did at the beginning of it all,” Westwood continued. “I gave up my PGA Tour card. There was no way I could ever attend all of the events required to keep her.”
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