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Page last updated at 16:45 GMT, Wednesday, 6 October 2010 17:45 UK

Westwood rejects US Tour invite but McDowell opts in

Lee Westwood
Westwood took 2.5 points out of four at this year's Ryder Cup

Lee Westwood has opted against playing on the 2010 US Tour, but European Ryder Cup team-mate Graeme McDowell will compete on the USPGA circuit.

Westwood, who will become the new world number one if he earns a top-two finish at the Dunhill Links Championship, said: "I do what's right for me now."

But McDowell will take up a USPGA Tour card, though he has pledged to compete for the European money list as well.

Compatriot Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, will cut his US tour appearances.

"I will only be playing 25 tournaments in all next year as against 29 on both tours this year," said the 21-year-old Northern Irishman.

"I only want to play in tournaments that really mean something and not just turning up to some events because I think I should be there."

The FedEx Cup sits right in the middle of the kids' summer holidays and I like going on holiday with them

Lee Westwood

Westwood's decision to turn down an invitation to play in the United States is another huge boost for the European Tour, on the back of a week that saw Europe regain the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.

The Worksop-born player's decision means he is turning away from some of the sport's richest prizes - Jim Furyk, for instance, earned more than £7m for winning the FedEx Cup play-offs a fortnight ago.

But the Englishman could end Tiger Woods' five-year reign at the top of the rankings this weekend at the Dunhill Championship in Scotland, an event that will feature eight of his European Ryder Cup team-mates as well as captain Colin Montgomerie and the Scot's assistants Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke.

And he says his resurgence to the top of the sport has ensured he can make his own choices, including skipping the FedEx Cup - a requirement of the US Tour.

"I don't want to be dictated to by having to go to America to play FedEx Cup when it doesn't really mean that much to me," said the 37-year-old. "It doesn't mean enough to me anyway.

"I think they (the PGA Tour) would like me to go and be a member there, but as of Monday evening I became an individual again and I do what's right for Lee Westwood now."

Westwood, who only seven years ago had dropped out of golf's top 250 players, explained a conversation with manager Andrew "Chubby" Chandler settled things in his mind.

"Chubby said 'why take up membership in the States when you've been the most successful player in the world this year and (despite a seven-week injury lay-off) still have a great chance to go to world number one? You've come second in two major championships, you must be doing something right, why not stick to the same schedule?'

606: DEBATE

"I don't want to get into a situation where I have to play events in America just to make up 15."

That, however, is less of a concern for US Open champion McDowell, who hit the winning putt for Europe on Monday in Wales.

"I won't be playing as many events in America as, say, Luke Donald and Justin Rose, but I am taking up my card," he said.

"I had one in 2006 but got injured early in that season and now I want to give it a real try."

The Dunhill Links Championship starts on Thursday and runs until Sunday.



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see also
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf
Ryder Cup heroes eye Dunhill test
06 Oct 10 |  Golf
Westwood set for top spot?
04 Oct 10 |  Golf
Westwood wants to lead from front
30 Sep 10 |  Golf
Injured Westwood to sit out USPGA
06 Aug 10 |  Golf


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