Lee Westwood confirms he has applied to play in Saudi-backed event

English golfer says he is an independent contractor who does what is right for himself

Lee Westwood has confirmed that he has applied to take part in the first Saudi-backed LIV Tour event in Centurion Club in England.

Speaking on Sky Sports, the English golfer said he did not think long about his decision to apply to play in the event.

“I’ve put a release in with the PGA Tour and the European Tour as many people have, that’s the stage we are at the moment, anything after that is ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ and speculation really,” he said.

“It’s an opportunity to play in a big tournament, hence some of the best players in the world [will be there], in England. I love playing in England to play in front of home fans. Anytime there is an opportunity like that, I feel I should take it.


“I’m an independent contractor, I work for myself, it’s my job and I have to do what’s right for me.”

Westwood joins Phil Mickelson in publicly expressing interest in the Tour as the six-time Major champion has requested a release from the PGA Tour.

The PGA Tour and DP World Tour have previously threatened lifetime bans on players who play in a breakaway league.

Westwood says the European Tour have already given releases to play in Saudi Arabia in previous years and it proved no problem, and compared golf to other sports.

“There’s a Formula One race there, Newcastle is partly owned by people from Saudi Arabia. There’s been fights there, I think there’s been snooker and darts there.

“Golf isn’t the first sport to be played in Saudi Arabia but it seems to have come under more scrutiny. Whether you think that’s right or not is the individual’s opinion.”

"I think Saudi Arabia obviously know they have issues. Lots of countries around the world have issues. I think they’re trying to improve through sport. Which a lot of countries do. That maybe worries people as people don’t like change. They like continuity and for things to stay the same.”

The tournament series of eight events, which comprise a team element, is due to begin in England from June 9th-11th, a week prior to the US Open. There will be four US-based events from July to September, including one at former US president Donald Trump’s course in New Jersey, Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.

October will see two events in Asia, including one in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The final event, called the Team Championship, is yet to have a venue decided, but will take place on October 28th-30th.

The total prize money for the first event is $25 million, comprised of $20 million in individual prizes – all players in the field earn a share – and $5 million for the top three teams.