Lee Westwood responds to threat of Ryder Cup ban after joining LIV Golf

Lee Westwood

Lee Westwood wants to stay connected with the Ryder Cup (Image: Getty)

Lee Westwood has indicated that he still wants to captain Europe in the Ryder Cup despite joining the LIV Golf Invitational Series.

The 49-year-old Englishman has put his Ryder Cup future in question after signing up for Greg Norman’s Breakaway Tour, with sanctions expected from the PGA and DP World Tours.

At a press conference ahead of LIV Golf’s inaugural tournament at the Centurion Club this week, fellow Rebels Ian Poulter said he still hopes to play in the Ryder Cup and urged golf’s two main tours not to punish defectors harshly.

Westwood, who has competed in the biannual competition 11 times, agreed with his former Ryder Cup team-mate.

He said: “I have to take that into account, I’m not sure about the matchdays, I’ll be 50 next April. The captaincy could also be in jeopardy, but Ian covered pretty much everything.

“What I want to say is that while we were on the European Tour, me and Ian were members of the PGA Tour and that hasn’t affected whether people were captains in the past.

Ian Poulter has also signed up for the LIV Golf Invitational Series (Image: Getty)

“LIV Golf is a different tour, so why should it be any different?”

Westwood was the favorite to captain Europe for next year’s Ryder Cup before retiring from the race in November to make way for Henrik Stenson.

A ban would tarnish his legendary status within the tournament and deprive Team Europe of their deep knowledge.

Stars who signed up with LIV Golf argue that the European Tour, now the DP World Tour, has held events in Saudi Arabia in the past despite the state’s poor human rights record.

As an independent contractor, Westwood reserves the right to play on any tour requested.

LIV Golf’s inaugural event in St Albans takes place from 9th to 11th June and has almost £20m in prize money up for grabs.

He added: “We’ve all played in Saudi Arabia before, we got clearance from the PGA Tour to play there and the European Tour has held events there.

“It’s really no different, so I feel literate in it, it’s something I’ve done in the past. As independent contractors, we can basically play where we want.’

MORE : Tiger Woods turned down $1 billion offer to join Saudi Arabia-backed golf’s rebel series

MORE : Phil Mickelson risks lifetime PGA Tour ban by signing up for Saudi Arabia-backed event

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General Sports Lee Westwood responds to threat of Ryder Cup ban after joining LIV Golf

Nate Jones

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