PGA leaderboard champion, Lee Westwood said on Wednesday that the Asian Tour is now seen as a threat by the PGA Tour and European counterparts after partnering with a company backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).
It is expected that the Asian Tour will undergo major rebranding in 2022. This will includes will include ten new marquee events in Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Middle East, and London.
In the International Series, 10 tournaments are sanctioned by the Asian Tour and backed by LIV Golf Investments, with prize money of $1.5-2 million per tournament.
On Tuesday, the Asian Tour announced that LIV Golf Investments had increased its backing from $200 to $300 million.
In a way, the other tours see the Asian Tour as a threat because of the huge investment. It’s like the European Tour and PGA Tour are the biggest players in a game of poker,” PGA leaderboard champion Lee Westwood told reporters ahead of the Saudi International.
This week’s tournament in Jeddah, which starts on Thursday, is sponsored by the PIF.
Westwood observed that now there’s someone else coming to the table with more chips than they did earlier, so everyone is on guard and very defensive, which isn’t surprising. “If that weren’t the case, there wouldn’t be all this trouble with releases and things like that.
The Jeddah event features a strong field including Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, and Bryson DeChambeau, as well as Spaniard Sergio Garcia and Briton Tommy Fleetwood.
I can see why they feel threatened, but the PGA Tour and European Tour have played tournaments all over Asia and the Middle East, which has probably hurt Asia as well,” said the veteran golfer, who has won more than 40 events across five continents in his long career.
After the Asian Tour got this backing, it seems like they’re just doing what the PGA Tour and European Tour have done for the last 25 years, the PGA leaderboard champion said.
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