PGA Tour

Azinger responds to criticism over European Tour comments

Paul Azinger (PA)
Paul Azinger (PA)

Cape Town - Former golf professional turned TV analyst, Paul Azinger, has responded to the criticism he received from the likes of Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood for his comments regarding the European Tour.

While commenting on the final round of the recent Honda Classic for NBC, where British golfer Tommy Fleetwood was vying for the title, Azinger highlighted Fleetwood's lack of success on the PGA Tour as compared to his success in Europe.

"These guys know, you can win all you want on the European Tour, the international game and all that, but you have to win on the PGA Tour," Azinger said.

"They all know that, and I think Tommy knows that. And it's put a little pressure on Tommy, but this is where they want to be. They want to come here and prove they can make it at this level."

Fleetwood's countrymen Poulter and Westwood both took exception to Azinger's remarks, and voiced their disapproval on social media.

Poulter was quick to remind Azinger of the recent record between European and PGA Tour players in the Ryder Cup.

"I like Paul Azinger a lot. And get on with him great," Poulter wrote.

"But Paul please do not condescend or disrespect the European Tour and our players like that. We have slapped your arse in Ryder Cup for so long I know you captained a win but seriously that was embarrassing today."

Westwood was similarly unimpressed with Azinger making light of the victories he's achieved around the world on the European Tour. The Englishman has 44 professional wins, only two of which have come on the PGA Tour.

"One minute Paul walks down the range wishing you good luck before you play, the next he's condescending to the tour you play on and disrespects the tournaments you've won around the world," Westwood wrote.

"I've won in 19 different countries over 4 decades. That is disrespecting a lot of people!"

Responding to the criticism, Azinger did not really back down from his opinion, and once again underlined the importance of winning on the PGA Tour.

"I wasn't trying to be malicious. I didn't mean to disrespect anyone," he said.

"But professional golfers choke for two things: cash and prestige. And the PGA Tour has the most of both."

- TEAMtalk media

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