2008 Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger ruffled alot of European tour players feathers this week when he suggested that players need to win on the PGA Tour to prove that they are top golfers. The comments came before the final round of the Honda Classic and were directed at Tommy Fleetwood who had won five times on the European Tour but according to Azinger needed top win in America to prove he is one the worlds best.
Fleetwood who led going into the final round by one shot had his hopes of a first PGA tour win dashed when he put his second shot at the 18th hole on his final round into the water. What angered the European player’s was the disrespect Azinger showed to the European Tour when saying..
“There’s alot of pressure here trying to prove you have what it takes, and these guys know that you can win all you want on that European Tour or the International game and all that but you have to win on the PGA Tour”
He continued by adding ” (Lee) Westwood took offence to that when asked about that yesterday. He has two wins on the PGA Tour, and he said he won forty four times all over the world but it’s not the PGA tour though and they know that. They want to come here and the want to prove they can win at this level”
Westwood tweeted “One minute Paul walks down the range wishing you good luck before you play the next he’s condescending to the the tour you play on and disrespect the tournaments you’ve won around the world. I’ve won in 19 different countries over 4 decades. That is disrespecting a lot of people”
Ian Poulter also chipped in adding ” I like Paul Azinger a lot. And get on with him great. But Paul please do not condescend or disrespect the European Tour and our players like that. We have slapped your ass in the Ryder Cup for so long. I k ow you captained a win but seriously that was embarrassing today”
Thomas Bjorn wasn’t happy either when he tweeted “It was so easy for Paul Azinger to say that Tommy Fleetwood has won around the world and is a world class player. Now the time has come for him to prove that on the strongest tour in the world. He was at best ignorant, at worst arrogant in delivering that. Bring on September!”
Azinger responded by saying ” I wasnt trying to be malicious. I didnt mean to disrespect anyone but professional golfers choke for two things, cash and prestige and the PGA tour has the most of both.”
Right or wrong, Azinger’s comments have certainly spiced up the golfing calendar and of course Europe’s visit to Whistling Straits in Wisconsin for the Ryder Cup in September.