Westwood all in on new Saudi league

Not so long ago many thought that the new LIV Golf Invitational Series was dead in the water after Phil Mickelson threw everyone, including himself, under the bus. Now the numbers are creeping up of those who have requested a release to play in the opening event at Centurion at June 9.

Richard Bland is in, a statement that would have mattered little a year ago but now he's a tour winner, teeing off first in The Open and just outside the world's top 50. And now so is Lee Westwood who is actually now below Bland on the world rankings.

His involvement, even at the age of 49, is still pretty big news given that he would be a shoo-in for the Ryder Cup captaincy. He did say that he wanted to have another crack at making the team in Italy, which might carry a shred of truth, who knows, but he was always linked to the possibility of a breakaway Saudi league and now he's put his cards on the table.

On the upside he fronted up and explained his reasons, on the downside he didn't just come out and say that he was in it for the money.

He said: “I don't think sport and politics should mix. The European Tour has been happy to play events in Saudi Arabia. The PGA Tour released players for that. It's like Wimbledon banning Russian players. For what it's worth I don't agree with that, either. We’ve played European tour events in Saudi Arabia. I’ve had releases from the PGA Tour saying that I can go play in Saudi Arabia. So it's it's been no problem to them in previous years. The Formula 1 race there, Newcastle’s owned partly by people from Saudi Arabia, there’s been fights there, you know, boxing fights. I think there's been snooker and darts here as well."

"It's an opportunity to play in a big tournament and some of the best players in the world, in England, you know? I love playing in England in front of the home fans. So, you know, anytime there's an opportunity like that, you know, I feel like I should take it. I'm an independent contractor that, you know, I work for myself. It's my job and I have to do what's right for me."

We could pick this apart bit by bit but why bother? Who he thinks is going to pay the huge sums to watch the action at Centurion god only knows and it's a long shot to suggest that it's a 'big tournament' given the names that have so far crept out. Then again he will know more than us and maybe Greg Norman and co are going to fill it out with some stellar names.

Let's hope not.