World No. 1 Commits to THE PLAYERS
By Stephanie Wei under General

When Lee Westwood declared in January that he wasn’t going to compete at THE PLAYERS, you know, “the fifth major,” it was interpreted as a big middle finger to the PGA Tour. Westwood was atop the world rankings at the time and what’s the Tour’s marquee event without all the best golfers in the world. Well, turns out the number-one player will play at TPC Sawgrass now — Martin Kaymer, who dethroned Westwood for the top spot, committed to THE PLAYERS on Monday, according to the Florida Times-Union’s Garry Smits. Luke Donald, the number-three ranked player, also will be at Sawgrass next month. Phil Mickelson committed last week. Meanwhile, Masters champion Charl Schwartzel has voiced to the Tour that he plans to play, but has yet to formally commit.

Following in Westwood’s footsteps, Rory McIlroy also announced that he was skipping THE PLAYERS. After all, he never makes the cut, anyway — the Pete Dye design doesn’t suit his eye.

Good news is Sawgrass might be teen phenom Matteo Manassero’s next start in the States. Manassero, who turned 18 today, had told me in March that he would likely play if he was eligible, meaning he had to reach the top-50 in the world rankings. With his win in Malaysia on Sunday, Manassero is now ranked No. 35. I’m still waiting on confirmation from IMG, his management team. I hope we see him there!

(AP Photo/Vincent Thian)