LIV Golf: Lee Westwood says Ryder Cup chances should not be threatened

Lee Westwood taking shot in front of Liv Golf sign
Lee Westwood took part in LIV Golf's first event at the Centurion Club in June

England's Lee Westwood says he does not believe his chance of playing for Europe in the Ryder Cup should be affected by his involvement in the Saudi Arabian-backed LIV Golf series.

The former world number one, 49, will play in the second of the eight-event $250m (£200m) series in Portland, Oregon on Thursday.

Westwood has made a record-equalling 11 Ryder Cup appearances in the biennial contest against the United States.

"Why should it be threatened?" he said.

"I've been playing Ryder Cup golf since 1997 and the criteria has been to be a member of the European Tour [now the DP World Tour].

"I've been a member of the PGA Tour and still played four events on the European Tour, and why would the European Tour change their rules so dramatically because another tour doesn't like it or feels financially threatened?

"As long as you fulfil the criteria to be a European Tour member, then you should still have the opportunity to try and qualify for the Ryder Cup team."

Spain's Sergio Garcia, 42, Europe's all-time leading points scorer, added: "I hope that I still have the possibility, as I'm sure they do, too, to be a part of a few more Ryder Cup teams, but that's not going to depend on us now."

European players need to be a member of the DP World Tour to be eligible to play in the event, which will next be contested in Rome in September 2023, while Americans need to be members of the PGA Tour, which is banning any of its members that have joined LIV.

And on Tuesday, US Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson gave his clearest indication yet that players who have joined LIV will not be eligible for selection for his team.

"What I know is this: In order to play on the Ryder Cup team whether you're top six or a pick, you must garner Ryder Cup points through the PGA of America," said Johnson.

"In order to garner Ryder Cup points through the PGA of America you have to be a member of the PGA of America.

"The way that we're members of the PGA of America is through the PGA Tour. I'll let you connect the dots from there."

Westwood 'disappointed' by DP World Tour

Westwood resigned from the PGA Tour to take part in the first LIV event in Centurion Club near London earlier this month, with the governing body suspending all members who took part.

The DP World Tour banned players who took part from playing in next month's Scottish Open and fined them £100,000.

It also warned players that "participation in a further conflicting tournament or tournaments without the required release may incur further sanctions".

"I personally am disappointed with the European Tour's approach," added Westwood.

"I've been a European Tour member for 29 years and for some of those years I have also been a member of the PGA tour and as long as I've played my four events the European Tour haven't had a problem with me playing anywhere else and now it seems to be a problem.

"As far as fines and sanctions, I'm disappointed."

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