Lee Westwood believes golf fans would’ve enjoyed seeing him play at last year’s Senior Open at Royal Porthcawl, but he was told he couldn’t compete…
Lee Westwood has described his rejection from playing in last year’s Senior Open as “petty and bitter.”
The 50-year-old applied to play at Royal Porthcawl but was turned down as he had outstanding fines to pay to the DP World Tour for competing in LIV Golf events, a response his LIV colleague Richard Bland received too.
The Telegraph reported in June 2023 that Westwood owed more than $800,000 in fines, but the Englishman contended he didn’t have to pay as he’d resigned his DP World Tour membership and had no intention to rejoin.
“I didn’t know you had to be a member of the European Tour to play in the Senior Open. It is not very ‘open’ if that’s so, is it?” he said in the report last summer.
“I tried to enter the Senior Open last year,” he explained to NCG, “but was told unequivocally by certain people that playing LIV, there was no chance of me playing.
“If people want to be like that, let them be like that. It’s petty and bitter in my opinion.”
The decision to bar Westwood, a member of LIV’s Majesticks GC, from the event in Wales was somewhat of a surprise given the major championships have avoided the hostile crossfire between LIV Golf, the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour.
The Masters, the PGA Championship, the US Open and The Open have seen several LIV players compete since the rebel league’s inception in 2022, as long as they fall under the correct criteria.
Lee Westwood on the Senior Open: ‘They’re not looking at it from a fan-quality viewing experience’
The 36th Senior Open was played a month after the PGA Tour announced the framework agreement with the DP World Tour and the Public Investment Fund, which was a sign of compromise and a cooling of tension.
However, Westwood and Bland were reminded of their sanctions in an email for breaching the Conflicting Tournament Regulations, and they could re-enter if they’d squared up their fines by the entry deadline of July 6.
Westwood came close to winning The Open Championship at Turnberry in 2009 and Muirfield in 2013 and he believes he’d have had a strong chance to win his first senior major had he been accepted into the field six months ago.
The event was eventually won by Alex Cejka during a brutal week where he beat Padraig Harrington in a playoff.
“The fans that turned up at Royal Porthcawl, they want to see the best over 50 players in the world playing in the Senior Open,” he added.
“They don’t want to see people missing out because of things that they’re not really bothered about.
“They just want to see the best players there, and I’m not blowing my own trumpet, in the over 50s category, I think I would’ve contended in The Senior Open and people would’ve wanted to see me play there.
“But, it’s unfortunate that at the high level – they’re not looking at it from a fan-quality viewing experience. They’re not looking at it that way.”
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