Westwood: Fifth major in the East?
World No.2 Lee Westwood believes men’s golf should create a new Major championship in the Asia-Pacific region.
The 38-year-old Englishman made the suggestion despite being a supporter of the history behind the four present major events – The US Masters, US Open, the British Open Championship and the US PGA Championship – that currently highlight the golf season.
“I like the tradition of the majors,” said Westwood, who played in the WGC-HSBC Champions – Asia’s one truly world-class tournament – in Shanghai recentlyh.
“The men’s game has it pretty much right, although I’d like to see another major somewhere else in the world – somewhere like Asia or Australia.”
The HSBC Champions was added to the World Golf Championships schedule in 2009, the first time a WGC event had been staged outside the United States since 2006.
Like many of the European golfers, Westwood fully supported the move and believes they should play an even bigger part in the growing internationalisation of the sport.
“The World Golf Championships should move around and encapsulate the whole world because it’s in the title of the tournaments,” Westwood said.
“They should be played by players from all over the world and be played all over the world.
“China’s an emerging market for golf; there’s so many courses being built, people taking up the sport and people getting interested in the sport.
“It’s somewhere World Golf Championships have to be played because it could turn into such a dominant force.
“Last year’s event was great!”
“Myself and Francesco (Molinari) ran away from the field. It probably looked good on TV and that sort of thing gets people interested.”
“The more tournaments played there the more interest there will be.”
The Nottinghamshire-born star who finished one shot short of adding a win in Shanghai to a record that includes wins everywhere from Australia, through Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Dubai as well as in golf’s traditional heartlands.
“I see the way the Asian economy and markets have supported golf over the past few years and they deserve to have big tournaments there,” he said.
“Asian golf is getting bigger, isn’t it? Asia seems to be one of the places which hasn’t been hit so hard by the financial crisis.”
“Europe and America have been nailed really, so Asia’s going to be looking healthier.
“Sponsors are more likely to want to put money into sporting events there because they have it.”
Westwood’s comments come after the LPGA was reported to have considered Asia as the location for the fifth Major they were creating this year, before eventually deciding to bestow the honour on the Evian Masters in France.
“Look how many good Asian ladies there are at the moment,” Westwood said.
“They should have a Major in Asia. “Every year you turn on the TV it’s a Korean woman winning, or that’s how it seems.”