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Lee Westwood ignores Ryder Cup captaincy as Saudi-backed revolution accelerates

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Lee Westwood ignores Ryder Cup captaincy as Saudi Arabia-backed golf revolution accelerates…

  • Lee Westwood has barred himself from captaining Europe at the 2023 Ryder Cup
  • He is one of the players targeted in a new series fronted by Greg Norman
  • Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell and Henrik Stenson in the race for the track











Less than three months have passed since Lee Westwood held onto David Park, player relations manager for the European Tour.

In front of half a dozen golf writers, he emphatically told Park that he would like to throw in his hat to become the 2023 Ryder Cup captain.

Now Westwood has once again barred himself from a job he had publicly coveted for years, and appeared to be a certainty after taking a tearful singles win at the final Ryder Cup in September.

England’s Lee Westwood has barred herself from captaining Europe at the 2023 Ryder Cup

What could have happened to make him think again? On the one hand, his comments to the Telegraph made perfect sense. He told me it’s a full-time job and not for a guy who’s still in the top 40 in the world.

At age 48, and in a year when Phil Mickelson won a major at age 50, who could blame Westy for wanting to see how far he can push the boundaries?

“The Ryder Cup is very close to my heart and I would only take on the role if I could give it 100 per cent,” he said.

Luke Donald (above), Graeme McDowell and Henrik Stenson have a shot at the job in 2023

Luke Donald (above), Graeme McDowell and Henrik Stenson have a shot at the job in 2023

Unspoken, however, was the topic that dominates too many wave conversations these days – the Saudi issue.

Westwood is one of a number of high-profile British players in their 40s who have been enticed to take part in this golfing revolution led by Greg Norman. How can you captain the Ryder Cup when there’s a chance you’ll be persuaded to join the charismatic Aussie if his proposed global tour ever gets off the ground?

“It would be a good idea to join at my age,” Westwood replied in May, when asked what he would do if offered a multi-million dollar contract.

The Saudi-backed golf revolution is led by Australian legend Greg Norman (above)

The Saudi-backed golf revolution is led by Australian legend Greg Norman (above)

Is it just because he was a fan of Norman growing up that Westwood will team up next month alongside Ian Poulter in the Shark Shootout – hosted by Norman – in Florida? Still a long way to go for a fun event two weeks before Christmas, right?

As for the captaincy, it’s now wide open with Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell and Henrik Stenson as part of the talk, although the Swede is another being chased by the Saudis. A decision is expected for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January.

Meanwhile, the newly christened DP World Tour comes to a halt on Sunday after the last two events of the year in South Africa were canceled due to new Covid-19 travel restrictions.

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