Lee Westwood claims Liv Golf Provides sports guarantees that attract lucrative sponsors more than the PGA Tour and DP World Tour.
The emergence of the controversial Saudi-backed LIV series, which includes a 48-player mega-money invitational, has sparked an ongoing civil war within golf.
LIV CEO and major disruptor of the sport, Greg Norman has poached some of the elite from the traditional circuit, and westwood was one of the first participants to register for the joint venture.
Westwood, 49, played in all eight events in LIV’s inaugural season and the enterprise will expand to 14 events as organizers hope to build momentum in 2023.
Norman’s series is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, and much of this year’s controversies have centered on players vastly increasing their fortunes through the Gulf state linked to human rights abuses – without any real danger on the pitch.
LIV, which has yet to be backed by TV broadcasters, is streaming all eight 2022 events live on its YouTube channel.
But Westwood believes the fledgling series will only thrive with contrast and innovative offerings that rival the status quo in golf. The former world number one insists the guaranteed 48-race event makes the venture an exciting proposition for future sponsors.
“I see the determination of everyone involved and I think it’s going to go from strength to strength,” he told bunker.
“People get so defensive because they’re worried, because they know it’s a good product, because they know LIV can guarantee sponsorship of these 48 players for those few weeks of the year. No one else can do that. PGA Tour and DP World Tour cannot.”
“A sponsor could come up with a proposal, throw in $12 million and say, ‘Great, so Rory [McIlroy] That’s when they’ll obviously play,” and they’ll be told, “Oh no, Rory can’t play.
“You have to pay him to make sure he shows up. When sponsors just poured $12 million into a campaign, they don’t want to hear that, do they?
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“And with LIV, everything is cut and dried. That’s for sure, and that worries all the other tours.”
The PGA Tour has boosted prize money and passed a deal to give more tournaments higher status, making star players obligated to play in bigger events. The move is aimed at combating LIV and correcting the issues raised by Westwood.
Westwood, a staunch supporter of the European Ryder Cup, insists LIV is only facing backlash because of the array of threats it poses to the established major tour.
“Let’s face it, LIV is very different,” he added. “I think that’s why the other tours have taken such a negative approach to it. It offers something they can’t, and they realize that, and it’s a threat to their product.”