McIlroy to THE PLAYERS: Thanks But No Thanks
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

When Rory McIlroy announced he wasn’t renewing his PGA Tour card for the 2011 season, it stirred some controversy. But then it wasn’t that big of a deal since he would still play all the important events, like the majors, WGC events, Quail Hollow (where he won last year) and the PGA Tour’s premier event, THE PLAYERS. Well, hold up — we can scratch that last one.

Coincidentally, Lee Westwood, who last week in Abu Dhabi revealed he was skipping THE PLAYERS, prompted McIlroy to give an answer via Twitter. McIlroy replied with the tweet shown in the screenshot above, followed by the dialogue below.

The young Ulsterman suggested in November the possibility of skipping the event. After all, he’s never been a fan of the Pete Dye design, and as he points out above, he doesn’t play well there.

Westwood and McIlroy basically just bitch-slapped the PGA Tour and Commissioner Finchem. Remember the suits changed a policy to ensure Westwood could play at TPC Sawgrass, while not exceeding his allotted limit of ten appearances in the US — a guideline which had been overlooked in the past.

The modified rule was supposed to accommodate Westwood and also applied to McIlroy because naturally the Tour wants all the best players in the world in the field. I mean, what’s a fifth major without the world’s no. one? (Then again, Westy might be dethroned by the time May rolls around.)

Ian Poulter chimed in, tweeting, “@westwoodlee @mcilroyrory what a result you 2 are not playing i might have a slightly better chance to win.”

Yes, hooray for Poulter and the rest of the field, along with the two other guys that will now get an opportunity for a shot at the $9.5 million purse, but a loss to the event and fans.

(Apologies for any typos and missing links. My computer crashed while en route to Orlando, so most of this post was typed on my iPad. Thank goodness I travel with three Internet-enabled devices.)