European golfers have hit back at comments from former PGA Tour professional Paul Azinger after he belittled the significance of the European Tour during NBC’s Honda Classic final round coverage on Sunday.
Azinger implied during the broadcast that wins on the PGA Tour are more significant and harder to achieve in comparison to the European Tour. The former U.S. Ryder Cup captain used England’s Lee Westwood as an example, stating that he has 44 professional wins worldwide, but just two on the PGA Tour.
Prominent European golfers, including Fleetwood and compatriot Ian Poulter, have reacted to the comments on social media.
“I like Paul Azinger a lot. And get on with him great. But Paul please do not condescend or disrespect the European Tour and our players like that,” Poulter said on Twitter. “We have slapped your arse in Ryder Cup for so long.
“I know you captained a win but seriously that was embarrassing today.”
I like @PaulAzinger a lot. And get on with him great. But Paul please do not condescend or disrespect the @EuropeanTour 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.
— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) March 2, 2020
Westwood, along with a few others, also slammed Azinger’s comments, saying that “the current golfing climate we shouldn’t be creating divides.”
I think Paul sometimes thinks he has to be controversial to be relevant. It’s a little disappointing that Dan sits there and looks to be agreeing and then doesn’t question his comments. @PGATOUR is a great tour but in the current golfing climate we shouldn’t be creating divides.
— Lee Westwood (@WestwoodLee) March 2, 2020
Azinger responded on Monday to backlash over his comments, telling Golfweek: “I wasn’t trying to be malicious. I didn’t mean to disrespect anyone. But professional golfers choke for two things: cash and prestige. And the PGA Tour has the most of both.”
The European Tour declined to comment when reached by ESPN.