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Lee Westwood: PGA Tour 'Hypocrites' After Payout Increases, New Tournament Schedule

Adam WellsAugust 26, 2022

Chris Trotman/LIV Golf via Getty Images

Lee Westwood thinks the PGA Tour's new initiatives show its hypocrisy as it tries to combat the emergence of LIV Golf.

In an interview with Golf Digest's John Huggan, Westwood said his reaction to the Tour's announcement this week was to laugh because "there are a lot of hypocrites out there."

The England native also called the changes "a copy of what LIV is doing."

In an announcement Wednesday, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan made a series of announcements about changes to the schedule and prize payouts going forward.

Among the key takeaways from Monahan's press conference were an increase in the number of elevated events in 2023, a commitment from top stars to play in at least 20 Tour-sanctioned events per year, guaranteed-minimum earnings for full-time Tour members and expanding the player impact program.

"Our top players are firmly behind the TOUR," Monahan stated, "helping us deliver an unmatched product to our fans, who will be all but guaranteed to see the best players competing against each other in 20 events or more throughout the season."

The breakdown of events featuring the top players will include all 12 elevated events, all four major tournaments (Masters, PGA Championship, U.S. Open, Open Championship) and the Players Championship. The remaining three events will be determined by the players based on their schedules.

Monahan's press conference came in the wake of a players-only meeting featuring PGA Tour stars that was led by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.

"I think the one thing that came out of it, which I think was the purpose, is all the top players on this tour are in agreement and alignment of where we should go going forward, and that was awesome," McIlroy told reporters Wednesday about the meeting.

The elevated events will each have prize purses of at least $20 million.

These changes came amid a number of players defecting from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf. The controversial new league funded by the Saudi Arabia government that has been spending bid money in an attempt to make itself into a major league organization.

Per Justin Birnbaum of Forbes, seven of the 10 highest-paid golfers so far in 2022 are on the LIV circuit. Woods, McIlroy and Jordan Spieth are the only PGA Tour players on the list. All three of them have earned more off the course through sponsors than for their tournament winnings this year.

The Saudi Public Investment Fund committed $2 billion to LIV in May. The series is holding eight tournaments in 2022, with plans for 10 tournaments in 2023 and 14 in 2024 and 2025.

The PGA Tour has indefinitely suspended all golfers who participate in the LIV Golf International Series.

Westwood was among the 48 players who took part in the first LIV Golf International Series event at Centurion Club in England in June. He turned pro in 1993 and won two PGA Tour events. The England has 25 career victories in the European Tour.

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