ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — World No.1 Lee Westwood has delivered a snub to the PGA Tour by saying he will not compete in the Players Championship, the so-called fifth major, at TPC Sawgrass in May.
“I’d play if I could, but my schedule is based around the majors. And it’s set now,” Westwood said Thursday. “I don’t want to go into The Players not having played for four weeks after the Masters. And I don’t want to stay in the States to practice for three weeks so I’ll play a couple of tournaments on the European Tour instead.”
When a reporter suggested that players won’t look back at their careers to see how many Players Championships they had won, Westwood replied: “Err, no. It’s a big tournament for them, but then so is our PGA Championship.”
Westwood said he believes that there is an “us versus them” feeling between the directors of the European Tour and PGA Tour and that it’s hurting the game.
“We are almost as guilty as they are of being too guarded about our own tour,” Westwood said in an interview in the February issue of Golf Magazine. “We are both increasing the amount of events you have to play, both fighting for the same dates by putting tournaments on during the same weeks. The best players should be together on the same week, not going up against each other. If nobody does anything about it, golf will struggle, and sponsors will drop out. Think of the big picture.”
Westwood suggested golf should be run more like tennis.
“Greg Norman made a valid point 15 years ago when he tried to get a World Tour going,” Westwood said. “Whether that’s having 25 massive tournaments a year with smaller ones on the same week in other parts of the world. There has to be a change.”