Friday, March 6

NBC Golf Analyst Paul Azinger Responds to Criticism From European Players

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ON SUNDAY WHEN ENGLISHMAN TOMMY FLEETWOOD was trying to win the Honda Classic, which would have been his first PGA Tour victory, NBC golf analyst Paul Azinger said this:

"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. 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 needed a birdie on the 18th hole to force a playoff. He dunked his fairwood metal in the water, finishing third.

Meanwhile, some European players took exception to Azinger's comments. Namely, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood, and maybe others.


And Lee Westwood said this:

"One minute Paul walks down the range wishing you good luck before you play, the next he's condescending (sic) to the tour you play on and disrespects 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!"

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On Monday Azinger told Golfweek he meant no disrespect. And then he said a little more.

"I wasn't trying to be malicious. I didn't mean to disrespect anyone," Azinger said. "But professional golfers choke for two things: cash and prestige. And the PGA Tour has the most of both."

Azinger has a point.

Besides that, I hope NBC hired Azinger to say what he thinks. If he never rankles at least some of the players, maybe he's not doing his job.

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