Sign up for our daily newsletter

Latest news, reviews, analysis and opinion, plus unmissable deals for bunkered subscriptions, events, and our commercial partners.

Lee Westwood has accused the R&A of pandering to the DP World Tour by not allowing LIV Golf players to compete in the Senior Open.

Richard Bland won on his over-50s major debut last week at the Senior US PGA Championship, while Westwood has outlined his own plans to compete at the US Senior Open next month.

But neither Westwood or Bland, both 51, will be teeing it up at Carnoustie for the final men’s major of the year from July 25-28, which is co-owned by golf’s leading body and the European circuit.

Whilst that veteran showpiece clashes with a LIV event in England on this occasion, Westwood has made it clear that the duo would not have been welcome at this year’s renewal regardless.

• DP World Tour stars face new sanctions over “Fore!” shout

• Lexi Thompson announces shock retirement from golf

“The only (senior major) I can’t play is the Seniors British,” Westwood said on Peter Finch’s Rough Cut podcast.

“It’s half owned by the European Tour and the R&A won’t put their foot down and say ‘No, this is an Open championship, Lee and Richard Bland for that matter should be able to play.’

“They pander to the European Tour and say if we pay our fines – I think my outstanding fines are £850,000 or something like that… I’m not paying them. I disagree with the way they’ve been handed out. So that’s why I can’t play in the Senior Open Championship. I think the fans lose out personally.”

Westwood and Bland planned to make their Senior Open debuts at Royal Porthcawl last year, but had their applications dismissed due to the fines incurred for playing LIV events whilst DP World Tour members.

• Wayne Rooney shocked during round of golf with Donald Trump

• PGA Tour star slams ‘unacceptable’ airline over club nightmare

The rejection email sent out in May 2023 read: “The committee has considered your application and is not willing to approve it, because you have outstanding fines imposed on you by the DP World Tour for breaching its Conflicting Tournament Regulations. You will therefore be removed from the entry list and your entry fee will be refunded with immediate effect.”

Alongside Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter, Westwood and Bland resigned their DP World Tour membership as suspensions and fines mounted for their LIV appearances.

Wentworth HQ’s decision to impose these sanctions on LIV players had been upheld in a sports arbitration case last April.

Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton have both retained their DP World Tour cards after joining LIV in order to keep their Ryder Cup hopes alive, but Westwood has claimed the Legion XIII teammates aren’t being punished quite as severely as he was.

“They’re not even consistent with it,” he added. “They’re fining Tyrrell and Jon Rahm different numbers now. Now they’re getting fined a figure but it’s nowhere near the figure that myself and Ian Poulter and a few others got fined so there’s no consistency in there.”

Westwood also suggested that the PGA Tour harmed its chances of securing a definitive agreement with LIV’s Saudi backers back in January when they agreed to investment from a consortium of US investors known as the Strategic Sports Group (SSG).

“There was the talk of the PIF (Saudi Publicc Investment Fund) and the PGA Tour having this business together,” the Englishman said. “If Party A and Party B want to join up – lets call PGA Tour Party B – they go out to party C and get $1.5billion worth of investment which is SSG. How do you reckon that’s going to make party A feel?

“I think they’re miles off and the tour that’s going to lose out the most in this is the European Tour.”

author headshot

Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

More Reads

Image Turnberry green

The bunkered Golf Course Guide - Scotland

Now, with bunkered, you can discover the golf courses Scotland has to offer. Trust us, you will not be disappointed.

Find Courses