Westwood asks PGA, DP World Tours for release to play LIV Golf event
Lee Westwood became the latest player to show his intention to play the first event of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series after the Englishman said he has requested the PGA Tour and DP World Tour for a release.
Westwood's decision comes shortly after British Masters champion Richard Bland said he has requested a release from the DP World Tour, while Phil Mickelson asked the PGA Tour for a similar release last month.
The first LIV Golf Invitational event will be held from June 9-11 at the Centurion Golf Club outside London.
“I've put a release in with the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour, as many people have,” Westwood told Sky Sports.
“That's kind of the stage we're at and anything after that is just ifs and buts and speculation.
“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.”
The US-based PGA Tour has told its members that they would be banned if they joined the breakaway Saudi-backed league.
Several top players including Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas have expressed their allegiance to the PGA Tour, while Rory McIlroy has described the breakaway league as “dead in the water”.
Westwood said golf has come under scrutiny more than other sports for its links with Saudi Arabia.
“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,” he added.
“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.”
Earlier, Bland told reporters he had asked the DP World Tour for a release but added that he is focused on retaining his title at the British Masters, which will be held at The Belfry from Thursday. — Reuters
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