TULSA, Okla. — Lee Westwood's days of delivering the UPS message to golf fans worldwide appears to have ended this week at the PGA Championship.
The former world No. 1 has been requested by the global courier and logistics company to remove the familiar brown and gold logo from his shirt and bag.
The actions by UPS appear to be due to the 49-year-old's decision to ask for a release from both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour to play in the first LIV Golf Invitational Series event in early June at Centurion Club outside of London.
The LIV Golf Invitational Series is part of LIV Golf Investments, which says its mission is to “make strategic investments in golf to enhance the global golf ecosystem and unlock the sport’s untapped worldwide potential." The Public Investment Fund, an autonomous wealth fund administered by the government of Saudi Arabia, is the main shareholder.
“I feel fortunate to have been with UPS for 14 years. Such a great company,” Westwood said Wednesday to Morning Read/SI.com, though he declined to elaborate on the move.
When asked if requesting a release to play in the upcoming LIV event had any bearing on the severing of the relationship, UPS called it a business decision.
“We value the relationship we’ve had but make decisions based on what is best for our business,” spokeswoman Kara Ross of UPS said via e-mail. “We will continue to focus on sponsorship initiatives that are important for UPS and consistent with our business priorities.
“The decision to end our partnership is a strategic business decision that allows us to focus on other initiatives. We maintain alternative sponsorships across other sports as well as cultural, philanthropic and sustainability-led initiatives to support our brand and meet the needs of our business.”
While UPS has no ties to the PGA Tour due to the Tour's extensive relationship with FedEx, most notably the season-long FedEx Cup points race, UPS is one of the worldwide suppliers of the Ryder Cup. The Ryder Cup is jointly owned by the PGA of America and Ryder Cup Europe LLP, a partnership owned by the European Tour Group, which also owns the DP World Tour. UPS is also a prominent partner with the Masters.