Westwood fires back at Tiger, LIV critics

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Lee Westwood has hit back at Tiger Woods as the ongoing LIV Golf furore cast a shadow over the start of the 150th British Open.

Westwood, who became one of the most high-profile defectors to the controversial Saudi-backed circuit last month, also criticised the media for "stoking up" arguments between people on both sides of an increasingly bitter row.

That came after Phil Mickelson, another star LIV signing, showed his frustration with reporters after being asked about his own situation.

Woods said earlier this week that players had "turned their back on what allowed them to get to this position" by signing up to play in LIV's big-money events.

Asked about the 15-time major winner's comments, Westwood said: "He's got a vested interest, hasn't he?

"The LIV players will talk the LIV tour up, the PGA players that aren't on the LIV tour will talk the PGA Tour up and put down the LIV tour.

"I don't pay too much attention to people's opinions. Tiger is entitled to his opinion."

The PGA Tour has suspended players who have joined LIV while the European-based DP World Tour has also imposed sanctions.

Amid the escalating dispute, another LIV player, Ian Poulter, was booed before his first shot at the Open.

Westwood did not experience any hostility during his opening round of 68 and claimed it was wrong to suggest he would.

"I don't think it had the potential (for that)," the former world No.1 said.

"The media are stoking it up and doing as much as they can to aid that, but I think the general public just want to go out there and see good golf, no matter where it is being played or who is playing it."

When a journalist said the media was not doing that, Westwood responded: "We could stand here and argue all day, but it is.

"I have spoken to a lot of people who were there last week and there is no animosity between players, but there are stories being written that there is.

"You are creating issues where there are none."

Mickelson earlier snapped after fielding a number of questions about his absence from this week's celebratory past champions events at St Andrews.

The R&A hosted a dinner for previous winners and invited a number to participate in a four-hole exhibition competition.

The R&A made it clear LIV figurehead Greg Norman, Australia's British Open champion in 1986 and 1993, had not been invited to prevent his presence becoming a distraction.

Mickelson insisted that had not been the case for him but he declined to attend out of respect.

The 52-year-old, who won at Muirfield in 2013, said: "The R&A contacted me a couple weeks before and said, 'Look, we don't think it's a great idea you go, but if you want to, you can'.

"I just didn't want to make a big deal about it, so I said, 'fine'. We both kind of agreed that it would be best if I didn't."

Asked if he was sad to be in such a position, the veteran American said: "No, no. Not at all. I think that I couldn't be more excited and ecstatic with where I'm at.

"I love the events. I get to have golf in my life and competitive golf in my life on a scale that is fun, exciting, different, and lets me play and compete but still do the things outside that I want to do."

Pushed further on missing the dinner, which was attended by the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Nick Faldo and Woods, Mickelson said: "Let it go, dude. Let it go. That's three times you've asked the same question."

Mickelson, who opened with a level-par 72 at St Andrews, insisted he had no regrets about signing up for the big-money LIV circuit even though it has led to his exclusion from the PGA Tour.

"I made the right decision," he said. "I can't wait to get to New Jersey and play another event there."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting