Lee Westwood has every reason to be sad about the end of his European Tour career.
Westwood once had the memory of playing 20 consecutive tournaments on the European Tour schedule until he finally won his first career title at the Volvo Scandinavian Masters. Was he determined to play till he won?
“No,” he said, laughing. “I've been playing since I was 23.”
Not since Colin Montgomerie has a European player of that stature stayed true to his roots. The 50-year-old from England has played on the European Tour at least 12 times in 28 consecutive seasons, no small feat considering the seven years he also played the minimum 15 events to become a PGA Tour member.
Westwood said, “I wouldn't change those years for the world and I feel like I've contributed to the tour.” the daily telegraph In an extensive interview.
Statistics don't lie. He played 590 tournaments on the European Tour. He won 25 times in four decades. He captured the Order of Merit three times, the last time at the age of 47.
“So no, I never believe it had ended like this,” he said, “and certainly must be a little sad.”
It must also be a harsh realization that he did this to himself.
They were free to choose, and Westwood chose to play in a rival league with immediate funding from Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, jeopardizing the very tour to which he had been loyal all these years.
This cannot be ignored. There must be consequences. They should have known it, even though LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman told players they could have it both ways.
remember, it was Norman who said about the PGA Tour about 15 months ago in a message to Sergio Garcia: “They can't ban you for a day, let alone for life. It's a shallow threat.” Is.
Westwood, Garcia and Ian Poulter were the most prominent Players will resign from European tour last week, after a month A UK arbitration panel ruled that the players who signed with LIV Golf committed serious breaches and that the tour had every right to punish them,
Garcia paid a 100,000-pound ($125,000) fine to play in LIV's debut film outside London last June. It is still unclear whether the Saudi-run league, which promised to pay legal fees, also paid the fine.
LIV has always been about the money, whether it is coming or going.
More resignations are certain. All three stand out because of their ryder Cup pedigree, and this could be Europe's biggest blow. Neither of them were likely to be in Rome this autumn to try to extend the streak of European victories on home soil until 1997, but Europe has lost a level of experience that will soon be replaced. Can't go
European Tour CEO Keith Pelley had no choice. He has to answer to the dozens of players who chose not to chase the free money. This was not the time to forgive and forget. Pele made it clear that he was not going to ban anyone – it was a ploy by PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan – but that his return would cost him dearly.
Westwood says no one told him about the extent of the punishment. Would it have made any difference? The Saudis were offering $20 million in prize money for each time he played, plus more than he had earned in his sterling career. At his age with declining skills, it's hard to turn down.
Westwood told The Telegraph, “As a European Tour member, I was allowed to be a member of the PGA Tour without any problems all those years ago.” “Tell me, what's the difference? Just because LIV is funded by the Saudis – a country where my tour played and where we were encouraged to play?”
This is where Westwood is at fault.
The difference is that LIV was not an “additive”, as Norman likes to say. It was a threat, a business challenge, a disruptor. Norman finally talks about free agency coming into golf, which is hogwash. Even a federal judge in California concluded during one of the early rulings that the LIV was more restrictive than the PGA Tour.
Westwood has been at the center of European golf for the last 30 years, and his contribution should not be forgotten. No one is complaining about chasing such a huge amount at this stage of his life. For everyone else in the twilight or beyond of their careers.
Turns out PGA Tour champions weren't golf's greatest mulligans.
The Masters revealed that while there is a huge divide in golf, the locker room is still in one piece. There was no sign of hard feelings. The same situation is likely to happen in other large companies as well.
But take away the arguments – whether it's tour bans from players leaving or the LIV still waiting to hear whether its closed shop on 54 holes should cost it world ranking points – and it's still a matter of time for players to make a difference. Comes down to options.
Choices come with consequences. He chose money.
Instead of criticizing the tours he missed, or complaining about being left out of the Ryder Cup, or questioning his stature in the game, he should be laughing to the bank. Isn't that why they signed up in the first place?