Paul Azinger sparks fury with dig at European Tour

Azinger Euro Tour

In terms of being deliberately controversial and provocative, Johnny Miller left some pretty big shoes to fill when he stood down as NBC’s lead golf analyst in February 2019. 

Judging by his comments at the Honda Classic, his successor, Paul Azinger, will slip into them without much difficulty.

Azinger, the mastermind of the USA’s 2008 Ryder Cup victory at Valhalla, upset plenty of people with his remarks about the European Tour during Sunday’s telecast from the final round of the Honda Classic.

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Discussing 54-hole leader Tommy Fleetwood – a five-time winner on the European Tour and a former Race To Dubai champion – Azinger said: “There’s a lot of pressure here. You’re trying to prove to everyone that you’ve got what it takes. 

"You can win all you want on that European Tour, international game and all that. But you have to win on the PGA Tour.”

Referencing Lee Westwood, who, like Fleetwood, was in contention going into the final round, Azinger added: “Westwood took offence to that actually yesterday when I asked him about that. [I said you’ve got] two wins on the PGA Tour but he said, ‘Oh, well, I’ve won forty-four times all over the world.” It’s not the PGA Tour, though, and they know that and I think Tommy knows that. It puts a little pressure on Tommy.

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“But this is where they want to be, isn’t it? They want to come here. They want to prove that they can win at this level.”

Unsurprisingly, people were quick to chime in, including several top players....

Plenty of others were just as unimpressed by Azinger's remarks.

In the end, Fleetwood had to settle for third place, a damaging bogey at the last - after finding water with his second shot - effectively handing the victory to South Korea's Sung-jae Im.

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