‘I’d be stupid not to take LIV Golf money’

Lee Westwood at a LIV Golf Invitational press conference (Action Images via Reuters)

Lee Westwood says he would be “stupid” to not take the money on offer from the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series.

Westwood, 49, a Team Europe stalwart after featuring in 10 Ryder Cups over an illustrious career, will play in the inaugural $ 25 million event at Centurion Club this week.

Westwood has earned approximately £ 350,000 on the DP World Tour this year, but has the opportunity to win $ 4m this week, while he is guaranteed $ 120,000 for last place.

The eight-event inaugural season will also see the top three players split $ 30m, with the overall winner pocketing $ 18m; numbers that Westwood insists he could not turn down.

“I’ve had a longer career than most,” Westwood said. “It’s my 29th season, but like you, if there’s a pay increase, at my age, I’d be stupid not to take it.

“It’s competition, it’s good, keeps everybody on their toes. Trying to achieve as much as they want to achieve.

“LIV is there, they’ve made the statement to try not to be a threat. There are 14 events [from 2024], I don’t see why the Tours can’t co-exist. Competition is good.

“We’ve all played in Saudi already, we’ve been given releases to play there, this is no different, I’m educated on it. I’ve done in the past, we can play wherever we want. ”

Westwood was also hopeful that he will have a future in the Ryder Cup, either as a player or team captain, despite speculation that those involved in the Saudi-backed breakaway will be banned.

“It’s something I have to take into account,” Westwood added. “I’m not sure about my playing days, I’m 50 next April, but captaincy could be in jeopardy as well.

“Myself and Ian [Poulter] are members of the PGA Tour and that’s had no effect. LIV Golf is another Tour, so why should it be any different? ”

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