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Lee Westwood opts out of Players Championship

Lee Westwood
Westwood's absence will hit the event's status

Britain's Lee Westwood will not play in the Players Championship - known as 'the fifth major' - at Sawgrass in May.

The world number one said the lucrative PGA Tour event in Florida, with a £1m prize for the winner, does not fit in with his schedule for 2011.

"There is a five-week gap between the Masters and the Match Play in Spain (19-22 May, one week after the Players) and I want to play a couple of events.

"I've said I will support the European Tour, so I am going to Asia."

Westwood will play in the inaugural Indonesian Masters at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club in from 21-24 April before taking part in the Ballantine's Championship in South Korea the following week.

As a non-member of the PGA Tour, he is allowed only three regular tournament appearances in North America outside the majors and World Championships.

The Worksop golfer's PGA Tour commitments in the United States this year begin at the Honda Classic in Florida (3-6 March), because it is the week between two World Championships there.

606: DEBATE
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He then plays the Houston Open (31 March-3 April) to warm up for the following week's Masters, and will defend his St Jude Classic title in Memphis (9-12 June) the week before the US Open at Bethesda, Maryland.

Stablemate Rory McIlroy has already said he might miss the Players Championship after deciding to end his US Tour membership.

Westwood, who finished joint fourth at Sawgrass in 2010, continued: "I can understand what the PGA Tour might feel about my decision, and they have every right to think that.

"But even with an invite I would not be able to prepare properly and that's not the way to go into a big event like the Players."

The 37-year-old added: "After the two opening World Golf Championships, I would bracket our [European Tour] PGA Championship in May as just as important as it offers exemption for anybody in the world's top 50 to play.

"I don't see many of [Americans] wanting to take up that offer. So you can't really please everyone, can you?"



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see also
Westwood wins thriller in Memphis
14 Jun 10 |  Golf
Clark wins Players Championship
10 May 10 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf


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