Lee Westwood blasts BBC over "insulting" women's coverage

Lee Westwood

Lee Westwood has hit out at the BBC over its decision to air highlights from this week’s AIG Women’s Open at an anti-social hour.

The broadcaster’s final round package from this week’s tournament at Royal Troon will begin on BBC 2 at 11.55pm on Sunday.

Red button coverage of the championship will also only be available on Sunday from 9pm.

The live rights for all four rounds of the only women’s major taking place in Europe this year are held by subscription broadcaster Sky Sports Golf. However, the Beeb has rights to highlights, which it has, in the words of former world No.1 Lee Westwood, shoved into the “graveyard” slot.

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Speaking to The Telegraph, the Englishman called the decision “really disappointing”. He said: “I know BBC TV has been turning its back on golf for years - this is first time in 55 years that it will not screen one day of live golf from any event, anywhere -  but if you have the rights to one of the biggest events, in global terms, that will happen in Britain this summer, then why not put on the highlights at a watchable time, not after the graveyard shift has started?”

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Westwood added that the strong British contingent set to contest the title should have persuaded the BBC to give the event a more favourable spot on the schedule. There are, after all, three English golfers in the world’s top 50, including the 2018 Women’s Open champion, Georgia Hall.

“It’s an insult and it makes no sense as there are loads of the British up there in the rankings They clearly deserve better.”

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In a statement, a BBC spokesperson said: "The BBC is committed to broadcasting a broad range of sports – live or highlights – and during this period, alongside the Women’s Open, will be showing snooker, cricket, athletics, rugby league and esports. 

"With a busy schedule across all platforms, we’re pleased to have the Women’s Open on BBC Two, to reach a wider audience and also on BBC iPlayer for those wanting to catch up on the action. Highlights of the final day will be available to watch at an earlier time of 9pm on the Red Button with highlights from days 1-3 available at 10pm.

The 2020 AIG Women’s Open gets underway at Royal Troon – the first time in its history it has been played at the Ayrshire course – on Thursday, with Japan’s Hinako Shibuno defending.

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