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Lee Westwood on quitting DP World Tour: ‘It should be obvious why I’ve resigned’

Lee Westwood admits to some sadness at seeing his DP World Tour and Ryder Cup careers end in the way that they have, and hopes a compromise can still be reached in the future.

On Wednesday, Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia officially resigned from the DP World Tour, effectively ending their Ryder Cup careers in the process. The trio had been stalwarts of Europe’s Ryder Cup squad for the best part of three decades but last summer decided to join the LIV Golf series.

While the long-time European stalwart isn’t expecting much sympathy in light of his defection to LIV Golf, he never thought his career would end in the way that it did.

“I was a kid when I played my first European event – the Madeira Islands Open in 1994 when I won about £3,000 for finishing tied 19th. I’ve had amazing times, including all those Ryder Cups,” Westwood told The Telegraph.

“I wouldn’t change those years for the world and feel I made a contribution to the tour. I’m not great on stats but I must have played something like 600 events, won more than 20 titles, and three Order of Merits. So no, I never would have believed it had ended like this and there has to be a bit of sadness, of course.”

As he exited stage left, Westwood again accused the DP World Tour of a double standard in its treatment of the LIV Golf Tour, and said the changes brought on by the new strategic alliance between the DP World Tour and the Pga Tour created a “regime” he’s not interested in playing under.

“People say I knew exactly what would happen, but nobody told us the extent of the punishments,” he said. “And they continue to do that. The way I view it is that, as a European Tour member, I was allowed to be a member of the PGA Tour without any problem for all those years. Tell me, what is the difference? Just because LIV is funded by the Saudis – a country where my tour used to play and where we were encouraged to play?

“I’ve been a dual member of the European Tour and PGA Tour, but always said I was a European Tour member first and foremost and that I had fears about the US circuit basically being bullies and doing everything it could to secure global dominance. Check my old quotes, it’s all there.

“But now, in my opinion, the European Tour has jumped fully in bed with the PGA Tour and even though Keith [Pelley, the chief executive] says he hates to hear it, it is now a feeder tour for the PGA Tour. The top 10 players on the tour, not already exempt this year, have a pathway to the PGA Tour – that’s giving our talent away. That was never the tour’s policy before this “strategic alliance”.

“Sorry, I don’t want to play under that sort of regime. Like, I always played on the Asian Tour, and got releases no problem. But then they said I shouldn’t play in the Indonesian Open at the end of last year. Come on. No thanks, I don’t want to play that game. Anyway, I’ve said all this before. It should be obvious why I’ve resigned.”

Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy at the Ryder Cup

Like many in LIV Golf, from CEO Greg Norman down to the players, Westwood continues to believe that a compromise will be reached at some point in the future, in which case he would return to Europe.

“As for looking into the future, I suppose there might be compromise one day and I can be eligible again then. I won the Race to Dubai less than three years ago and that gave me a decade of exemptions,” he said.

“At my age, sure it was maybe easier to choose to resign than others who might be doing it – and that’s up to them to tell you, not me – but this wasn’t a straightforward decision and not one I have taken lightly at all.

“I mulled it over and just didn’t like the thought of the tour continuously hitting us with more fines and bans that would have been hanging over me. I’ve paid my fine out of respect for the arbitration panel and have then taken the decisions out of the tour’s hands. I honestly want to move on.”

As for the Ryder Cup, Westwood lamented that Europe had just lost a huge amount of experience with the exit of himself, Poulter and Garcia – Europe’s record points scorer.

“Could you imagine them allowing Luke [Donald, the Ryder Cup captain], to involve one of us, no matter how well one of us might be playing?” he added.

“I don’t want to talk about other LIV players who might not be eligible anymore, but there will be so much experience lost now, all because the tour has gone into bed with the PGA Tour. That’s not the way it was. And not the way I think it should be. Like I said, it’s time for me to move on.”

Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia end Ryder Cup careers as golf’s civil war rages on

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Lee Westwood on quitting DP World Tour: ‘It should be obvious why I’ve resigned’


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