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Lee Westwood has backed LIV Golf to get “bigger and stronger”, insisting it can offer things the PGA Tour and DP World Tour can’t.
Westwood, 49, was one of the first players to commit to the Saudi-funded enterprise and played in all eight events of its ‘beta’ season in 2022.
Speaking in the latest edition of bunkered (issue 198, on-sale now), the Englishman explained why he believes its future is bright, despite the noise and controversy surrounding it.
“I think the animosity has brought all the players and caddies and all of the LIV team together,” he said. “It’s kind of us against them, which has made us like one big family.
“I see the determination in everybody’s who’s involved and I think it’s going to go from strength to strength.”
He added: “People are getting so defensive because they’re worried, because they know it’s a good product, because they know LIV can guarantee sponsors these 48 players on these weeks of the year. Nobody else can do that. The PGA Tour and DP World Tour can’t.
“A sponsor might pitch up, put in $12million and say, ‘Great, so Rory [McIlroy] will obviously be playing then’ and they’ll be told, ‘Oh no, Rory can’t play. You’ll have to pay him appearance money to be guaranteed him turning up.’
“That’s not what a sponsor wants to hear when they’ve just poured $12million into an event, is it? Whereas with LIV, it’s all cut and dried. There’s certainty and that’s worrying for all of these other tours.”
“Let’s face it, LIV’s very different. I think that’s why there’s such a negative approach to it from the other tours. It gives things that they can’t give and they realise that and it’s threatening to their product.
Westwood also revealed that, prior to joining LIV, he was offered the Ryder Cup captaincy for the match in Rome in 2023 but turned it down.
“I analysed it and, for a few different reasons, I decided not to take it,” he added. “It wasn’t the right time.”
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