‘A joke’: Pro blitzes LIV player for making six-figures for last-place finish

lee westwood at LIV event

Lee Westwood engaged in a Twitter clash Monday that surfaced some of pro golf's hot-button issues.

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Golf’s civil war might be over.

But golf’s Twitter wars? Not so much.

For the latest in social-media sniping, we turn your attention to a snark-filled verbal volley between English tour pros Lee Westwood and Eddie Pepperell, which burned across the Twittersphere (sorry, X-osphere) Monday morning and featured an exchange of farm and barnyard insults. 

The digital dustup began after the end of tournament play on Sunday, when Westwood, who competes on the LIV Golf circuit, responded to the latest Official World Golf Ranking by posting a laughing-face emoji.

It was his way of mocking the OWGR, which does not recognize LIV events in its algorithm.

A few hours later, Pepperell, who has been a vocal critic of LIV since its inception, chimed in by mocking Westwood for what he described as Westwood’s overpaid underperformance at this weekend’s LIV event in New Jersey, where Westwood pocketed $120,000 for finishing last in the 48-player event.

“I’ll tell you what’s a joke Lee; you earning 3X the average annual UK salary in one week for shooting +20 over 3 rounds.”

It was shortly after midnight. But Westwood wasn’t snoozing. Responding to Pepperell’s jab, he pointed out that the PGA Tour has been doing plenty to pump up compensation for its players through such initiatives as the Player Impact Program (PIP) and the TGL, a planned arena golf league that will operate in partnership with the Tour. 

“PIP?” Westwood tweeted. “Miss that one did you? Monday simulator games? Miss that one too?”

Pepperell, who plays on the DP World Tour, didn’t exactly disagree. But he didn’t let up on Westwood, either.

“It’s all laughable,” he typed. “From you earning £100k last week for playing like a turnip to the TGL/PIP. Pro golf has degraded itself to being just about the money. Maybe it always has been and I’m naive, but it isn’t doing much to improve the sport and genuinely ‘grow the game.’”

On it went, in classic social-media fashion, with fans of all persuasions adding their own commentary while apparently trying to egg the players on. At one point, Pepperell sounded a conciliatory note by saying that he will always remember Westwood and fellow LIV-ers Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter for their Ryder Cup heroics. Still, he said, by defecting to LIV, the players had sparked “a big directional change in golf, and not in a positive way IMO.”

Westwood was having none of that. Referring to a private meeting last year between players and DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley to discuss the future of a divided game, Westwood bashed Pepperell for not piping up at the time.

“You know who’s responsible for all of this! Me and @IanJamesPoulter asked all the questions at the Players meeting at Wentworth and you sat right in front of me bowing your head like a nodding donkey while KP was spouting his political head/master shite.”

Playing like a turnip! Nodding like a donkey! It was getting good. It was also getting late.  

At 1:59 a.m., Pepperell allowed that he probably shouldn’t have said anything in the first place. Westwood posted a meme of Homer Simpson retreating into hedges. 

Their spat was over. For the moment, at least.

Josh Sens

Golf.com Contributor

A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.