Lee Westwood finds PGA Tour changes humorous: ‘A copy of what LIV is doing’
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The LIV Golf circuit has created all sorts of waves over the past several months as some of golf’s best have made the jump from the PGA Tour to the Saudi-backed circuit.
With big names such as Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson choosing to take the massive payday at LIV, the PGA Tour has been put in the position of having to respond with changes of their own in order to keep those who remained loyal to their tour happy.
Those changes were announced on Wednesday by PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, following a players-only meeting in Delaware last week in which Tiger Woods was in attendance.
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Monahan announced that players holding a PGA Tour card will commit to playing in 20 events per year, including 12 elevated events that feature $20 million purses and the top-20 players, among other changes.
Lee Westwood, who was one of the first to make the jump to the LIV Golf Invitational Series, is not impressed by the moves.
“I laugh at what the PGA Tour players have come up with,” Westwood told Golf Digest. “It’s just a copy of what LIV is doing. There are a lot of hypocrites out there. They all say LIV is ‘not competitive.’ They all point at the no-cut aspect of LIV and the short fields.”
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“Now, funnily enough, they are proposing 20 events that look a lot like LIV. Hopefully, at some point they will all choke on their words. And hopefully, they will be held to account as we were in the early days.”
Most PGA Tour events are 72-holes with 36-hole cuts, while LIV Golf plays with a 54-hole, no-cut structure.
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Monohan also announced changes to the Player Impact Program (PIP), with the bonus pool being increased from $50 million to $100 million.
Westwood says that LIV is simply following in the footsteps of how the PGA Tour has conducted their business for years.
“I’m not convinced by the strategic alliance because I’ve seen how the PGA Tour has behaved over the years,” Westwood said of the alliance between the PGA and DP World Tour. “There’s not been much ‘give.’ They have always been bullies and now they are getting their comeuppance.
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“All the PGA Tour has done since Tiger came on tour is up the prize purses. In turn, that has taken all the best players from Europe away from the European Tour. They’ve had to play in the States, taking all their world ranking points with them. That was their strategy: ‘Put up the money. Get all the players. Hog all the world ranking points.’ Which becomes self-perpetuating. What we have seen over the last few months is just LIV doing what the PGA Tour has done for the last 25 years.”