Lee Westwood bites back at Rory McIlroy after brutal LIV Golf dig at ex-Ryder Cup captain

Rory McIlroy took aim at sacked Ryder Cup captain Henrik Stenson on social media, and the Swede’s LIV Golf teammate Lee Westwood has had his say on the fallout

After Rory McIlroy said that the dismissal of former captain Henrik Stenson was the “best thing to happen” for the European Ryder Cup team, Lee Westwood retaliated.

Lead by captain Luke Donald, McIlroy assisted Europe in defeating their American opponents in the October Ryder Cup at Marco Simone. European managers had originally selected former Open champion Stenson for the 2023 position; Donald was their backup. But last summer, the Swede lost his captaincy after choosing to play at LIV Golf alongside fellow European greats Ian Poulter and Westwood.

Donald was then given the job, and it proved to be a wise choice as the former world number one helped Europe put on a strong show in Rome. Following his valiant actions in Italy, the Englishman was rewarded with the captaincy for their 2025 title defense in the United States, making history as the first back-to-back captain since Bernard Gallacher in 1995.

Star player and McIlroy’s partner Jon Rahm may not be at the Bethpage in two years after shocking the golf world this week by joining the LIV setup. Naturally, this has cast doubt on his Ryder Cup prospects, but McIlroy, one of LIV’s harshest critics, seems to have softened his position by advocating for a rule change that would permit the Spaniard to participate.

He was questioned on social media about whether he would like Stenson to receive the same treatment after he called for a change to his rules. “The best thing to happen to the 2023 Euro Ryder Cup team was Henrik going to LIV!” he angrily retorted on X.

Unsurprisingly, McIlroy’s tweet caused controversy in the golf community once more and prompted a reply from Westwood, his former Ryder Cup partner. He responded to the four-time major winner’s post with sarcasm, saying, “Nice to see the season of good will in full swing! “Happy Christmas!”

Westwood, like Stenson and Rahm, would be another to benefit from a rule change for LIV golfers. Before moving to Saudi Arabia, he was considered a lock to lead Europe in the future. However, McIlroy seems content that his former teammates won’t be playing in the future, speaking in Italy this autumn.

The four-time major champion therefore thinks that Westwood and company should be blamed for missing the Ryder Cup rather than Donald’s squad. “Having them around is definitely a little strange,” the former Open champion remarked in September.

However, I believe that this week above all others, they will realize that they are not here. More than we will miss them, they will miss being here. This week has brought them to the difficult realization that their choice has prevented them from participating in this week. We’ll see what transpires and whether they remain a part of the ever-evolving and dynamic golf landscape in the future. I’ve always believed that this week will be the turning point when it becomes clear that they won’t be around.

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