LIV Golf’s Lee Westwood not fazed by 72-hole U.S. Senior Open; bothered by something else

June 28, 2024

Lee Westwood is off to a solid start in his U.S. Senior Open debut, but the Englishman is bothered by a long-standing policy.

Lee Westwood smiles during the first round of the 2024 U.S. Senior Open.

Jack Milko Jack Milko has been playing golf since he was five years old. He has yet to record a hole-in-one, but he did secure an M.A. in Sports Journalism from St. Bonaventure University.

Lee Westwood opened the U.S. Senior Open at Newport Country Club with an impressive 4-under 66, but nobody could have guessed that he felt bothered by a longstanding policy out on the course.

And no, it is not the fact that this championship is 72 holes, unlike LIV Golf events and tournaments on the PGA Tour Champions, which are 54 holes.

“I think I can manage it,” Westwood said of the 72-hole competition.

“It’s playing in trousers that’s bothering me more.”

Unlike other top men’s circuits, LIV Golf allows players to wear shorts. The PGA Tour and major championships, meanwhile, do not let men dress in anything but pants during competition.

“72 holes won’t be a problem,” Westwood continued.

“It’s looking down and seeing me legs in trousers. I prefer to get me legs out.”

With his legs out last week, Westwood posted his best finish in a LIV Golf event since joining the Saudi-backed circuit in the summer of 2022. He parlayed that T-3 finish with a strong start at Newport Country Club, where he sits in a tie for third with Padraig Harrington, Jeff Maggert, Alex Cejka, and Bob Estes at 4-under. This group is three strokes behind leaders Richard Green and Hiroyuki Fujita, who carded 7-under 63s on Thursday morning.
Lee Westwood hits a shot during the first round of the 2024 U.S. Senior Open.

“Playing a bit more, I think, and just having a run of a few weeks where I’ve not put the golf clubs down altogether. This is a good time of year to play a few tournaments. When I’m not at tournaments, keep my eye in, do a bit of practice. Weather is getting a bit better in England so green conditions are a bit better and that makes me want to practice. Yeah, that’s basically it. Just that sharpens me up,” Westwood said of his recent stretch of strong play.

“Always played well and been sharper when I’ve not gone home and put the clubs away. It’s a balancing act. I don’t want to play all the time now, and I can’t play all the time. It’s just not good for my body. I try and do what I can when I’m away from the golf course. I focus more on the gym work and staying flexible and strong. Injury prevention more than anything.”

Westwood began the championship with an eagle on the par-5 1st hole after sticking his second shot to 10 feet away. He made the putt and went on to play his final 17 holes in 2-under, highlighted by four birdies but beset by a pair of bogies on the par-4 8th and par-4 15th.

Not bad for a guy who wishes he could play in shorts.

“You notice most of the guys wear shorts in practice,” Westwood added.

“You can see how many people are comfortable, especially when it gets a bit warm putting a pair the shorts on.”

Maybe that will be another change the professional game adopts soon. But for now, Westwood and every other player at Newport this week will have to continue to don trousers, whether he likes them or not.