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Lee Westwood Snubs U.S. PGA Tour, Plans To Miss the 2011 Players Championship

Andy Reistetter@GolfWriter59Analyst IJanuary 20, 2011

Current World No. 1 Lee Westwood playing in Abu Dhabi on the European Tour this week.
Current World No. 1 Lee Westwood playing in Abu Dhabi on the European Tour this week.Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

If you haven't noticed, there is a row starting in the world of golf.

Whether it is simply the players or the tours, it is Europe and the rest of the world against the Americans.

Here are Reistetter's Top 10 thoughts on the current situation and how it evolved in the last nine months.

1.  The latest happening is U.S. PGA Tour non-member Lee Westwood's announcement that he is missing the 2011 Players due to the restriction of being able to play in only 10 U.S. PGA Tour-sanctioned tournaments.

2.  The issue is not the actual Players event as playing there does not count against the 10 limit for nonmembers. Remember, The Players is the fifth major by virtue of the strongest field in all of golf, its history and major sponsor. The issue is Westwood playing at Quail Hollow, host to the 2017 PGA Championship, the week before The Players to warm up.

3.  The 10 cards in Westwood's 2011 playing hand are the four majors, three WGCs and the Honda Classic (sandwiched between the WGC Match Play in Arizona and the WGC in Florida at Doral), Shell Houston (week before the Masters) and St. Jude in Memphis (week before the U.S. Open), where Westwood is the defending champion.     

4.  Why is Westwood targeting The Players Championship? He is not, Chubby Chandler, Managing Director of International Sports Management, golf's current day Mark McCormack, is the man making the decisions for Westwood. Think about the impact McCormack had on the game of golf when he developed the sports agent role and signed up Arnold Palmer as his first client.

5.  Chandler controls world No. 1 Lee Westwood, Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, the other U.S. PGA Tour non-member snob Rory McIlroy, Hall of Fame inductee Ernie Els, up-and coming Charl Schwartzel and Chris Wood as well as grisly veteran Darren Clarke.

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6.  This is about Chandler versus Finchem, commissioner of the U.S. PGA Tour, for control of the future world golf tour. Chandler is the new Greg Norman.

7.  Ironically this row was started by the U.S. PGA Tour when the Memphis tournament last year snubbed Westwood by not extending an invitation to him to play the week before the U.S. Open.

8.  It was only at Quail Hollow, the week before The Masters, when Westwood made it a media issue by pointing at the logo on his shirt and guessing that was the reason why a regular tour event would not invite the world's No. 4 golfer. His logo was that of his sponsor U.P.S.—a major competitor of Fed Ex.

9.  The PGA Tour realized how silly that looked and extended an invitation to Westwood to play in Memphis which is also the world headquarters of Fed Ex. He did and he won on the U.S. PGA Tour for the first time in 12 years.

10.  Lee Westwood is looking a lot like Colin Montgomerie though respected in America there is a question of how much he is really liked on a personal inspirational level. A major championship victory instead of finishing in second place would definitely bridge that gap in acceptance. Or even a win at the 2011 Players right in the backyard of the U.S. PGA Tour headquarters might help.

Andy Reistetter is a freelance golf writer covering all four major American golf tours- the PGA TOUR, Champions, Nationwide and LPGA Tours.

Reistetter resides in Pont Vedra Beach, Florida near the PGA TOUR headquarters and home of The PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

A lifetime golfer, Andy enjoys volunteering at the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Florida and pursuing his passion for the game of golf and everything associated with it.

For more background information on Andy go to the website www.MrHickoryGolf.net or e-mail him to AndyReistetter@gmail.com