If Rory McIlroy thought he’d be seeing less of Lee Westwood after leaving the ISM stable he can think again with the news that the world No 3 has decided to rejoin the PGA Tour next season.
The English star will divide his time between Europe and America which means he is likely to clash with McIlroy in events such as The Players at TPC Sawgrass and the FedEx Cup play-offs.
“I missed The Players Championship last year when watching it on television. It was always a scheduling issue for me. Though the rules changed making it exempt from PGA TOUR restrictions, I had already set my schedule for later in the year in Asia. I didn’t want to break any of those commitments,” Westwood said.
“It’s a great event and one I’ve always enjoyed playing. It just felt right in Ryder Cup year to commit to a full programme in the United States. The FedEx Cup looked pretty good on TV this year. I thought it would be great to give it a go, having never taken part.”
This is a far cry from his thoughts in late 2010, when he decided that being obilged to play 15 PGA Tour was not for him:
“I don’t want to be dictated to by having to go to America to play FedExCup when it doesn’t really mean that much to me. It doesn’t mean enough to me anyway.
“I think[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.”
A statement issued by his management company, ISM, added:
Westwood begins his American involvement at the Accenture World Match Play in Arizona in February, the first of four World Golf Championship Events of the year, and signs off with the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedEx Cup. He is obliged to play a minimum of 15 events in the United States. Westwood’s involvement will not affect his European Tour commitments.
PGA TOUR Executive Vice President and Chief of Operations Andy Pazder said: “We are delighted to welcome back Lee as a member of the PGA TOUR. He’s obviously proven himself to be one of the very best and most consistent players in the world, and the fans of the PGA TOUR will enjoy having more opportunities to watch him compete.”