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Lee Westwood, 51, set for over-50 debut at U.S. Senior Open

Lee Westwood logged 268 career starts on the PGA Tour before joining LIV Golf two years ago.

This week he will make his senior debut.

Westwood, 51, is set to compete in the U.S. Senior Open at Newport Country Club in Rhode Island. His is one of two LIV players in the field, joining Richard Bland, who recently won the Senior PGA in his first start on the over-50 circuit.

“The Champions Tour for me is important because people have watched myself play and other guys out here play for the last 30, 40 years, and they build relationships with those players and they’ve seen us grow as players and people,” Westwood said Tuesday. “Yes, people want to see the youngsters, the new guys on the block coming through and contending, but they also want to see the guys they’ve made a bond with over the last 30, 40 years. Because, from what I’ve seen, watching a bit of the tournament last week, Padraig [Harrington] is still playing some great golf and it’s entertaining. At the end of the day, we’re in the entertainment industry.

“It’s nice that the USGA and PGA of America and the R&A are trying to find a way to get everybody together more often.”

Westwood, of course, was noting the ongoing divide between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour, who are still in negotiations on a potential partnership and reunification of pro golf’s elite players. Westwood echoed sentiment from players on both sides, saying, “I think if the best players at every level don’t come together and play, there’s only one loser, and that’s the fans watching.”

“The consensus of opinion of everybody that I talked to said it’s great to see myself and Richard playing here,” Westwood added. “I think, when you look at the U.S. Open two weeks ago or the Masters or the PGA Championship, people are happy to see Bryson [DeChambeau] or Cam [Smith] or Jon Rahm coming and playing in those big events. It’s basically getting all the best players together in one tournament to compete against each other, and that’s what you want at the highest level. You want all the best players there.”

But that was about the extent of Westwood’s comments about the overall state of the game.

As for his own game, Westwood is coming off his best finish in 29 career LIV starts, a solo third at LIV Nashville. That bumped him up to No. 33 in points, a season after he finished a disappointing No. 45.

“I started to swing well, and my whole game was coming together when I played at LIV Houston three weeks ago,” Westwood said. “Then I went home and did a little bit of work on it. I probably haven’t been working as hard on my game as I would have liked to, but I put in a bit more work in the week off. I went to Nashville and carried on really with that theme, those swing thoughts. Putted well last week. I sharpened my short game up because I’ve been playing more, and my game is in a really good place.”