LIV Golf International Series: Lee Westwood feels golf under more scrutiny than other sports over Saudi-backed golf series | Golf News


Westwood: “Formula One raced there. Newcastle United are¬†owned partly by people from Saudi Arabia. There has been boxing there and I think there has been snooker and darts there as well. Golf’s not the first sport to have links with Saudi Arabia”

Last Updated: 04/05/22 2:04pm


Lee Westwood says many players have requested a release from the PGA Tour and DP World Tour to play in the new Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series

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Lee Westwood says many players have requested a release from the PGA Tour and DP World Tour to play in the new Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series

Lee Westwood says many players have requested a release from the PGA Tour and DP World Tour to play in the new Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series

Lee Westwood has defended his decision to request to play in the LIV Golf Invitational Series next month and believes golf has been scrutinised more than other sports for their links to Saudi Arabia.

Westwood becomes the latest player to confirm their intention to tee it up at the Centurion Club from June 9-11, the first of eight scheduled events in 2022, having requested releases from both the DP World Tour and PGA Tour.

“We’ve played European Tour in Saudi Arabia and I’ve had releases from the PGA Tour to say I can play in Saudi Arabia, so it has been no problem to them in previous years,” Westwood told Sky Sports News ahead of the British Masters.

Lee Westwood expects to feature in the LIV Golf Invitational Series at the Centurion Club next month

Lee Westwood expects to feature in the LIV Golf Invitational Series at the Centurion Club next month

“Formula One raced there. Newcastle United are owned partly by people from Saudi Arabia. There has been boxing there and I think there has been snooker and darts there as well.

“Golf’s not the first sport to have links with Saudi Arabia, but it seems to be coming under more scrutiny than anyone else. Whether you think that’s right or not is the individual’s opinion.

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“I think Saudi Arabia obviously know they’ve got issues. I think lots of countries around the world have got issues and I think they’re trying to improve. They’re trying to do it through sport, which a lot of places, a lot of countries do.

“I think they’re doing it a lot quicker than some countries have tried to do it and that maybe worries or scares people. People don’t like change do they, they like continuity and things to stay the same.”

Matthew Southgate sees merit in the Saudi-backed golf tour, arguing the guaranteed income would appeal to him

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Matthew Southgate sees merit in the Saudi-backed golf tour, arguing the guaranteed income would appeal to him

Matthew Southgate sees merit in the Saudi-backed golf tour, arguing the guaranteed income would appeal to him

Reigning British Masters champion Richard Bland told the media ahead of his title defence at the Belfry he has requested to feature next month, with Westwood also relishing the opportunity to compete on home soil.

“I’ve put a release in with the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour, as many people have,” Westwood added. “That’s kind of the stage we’re at and anything after that is just ifs and buts and speculation.

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“It’s an opportunity to play in a big tournament, against some of the best players in the world, in England. I love playing in England in front of home fans, so any time there’s an opportunity like that I feel like I should take it.”

Phil Mickelson’s agent revealed last month the six-time major winner has requested a release from the PGA Tour to play the first event in June, with Robert Garrigus among the others seeking permission to also be part of the 48-man field.

After PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said the tour was about 'legacy and not leverage' after rumours of a Saudi-backed golf league, Jaime Diaz looks at what golf needs to keep the fans interested

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After PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said the tour was about ‘legacy and not leverage’ after rumours of a Saudi-backed golf league, Jaime Diaz looks at what golf needs to keep the fans interested

After PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said the tour was about ‘legacy and not leverage’ after rumours of a Saudi-backed golf league, Jaime Diaz looks at what golf needs to keep the fans interested

Previous media reports suggested any player involved with the Saudi-backed circuit may risk any hopes of captaining Europe’s Ryder Cup side in the future, although Westwood said that played no part in his decision to compete.

“That ball is in the European Tour’s court,” Westwood admitted. “I have no influence over the way they think. I am an independent contractor. I work for myself, it’s my job, and I have to do what’s right for me.”

Watch the Betfred British Masters throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage begins on Thursday from 1.30pm on Sky Sports Golf.





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