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Lee Westwood cries Fowl over Rory McIlroy’s US snub

By Karl MacGinty

World No 1 Lee Westwood has criticised the PGA Tour, accusing the US body of “protectionism” after his Ryder Cup team-mate Rory McIlroy was snubbed in the annual ‘Rookie of the Year' poll.

Instead, the award went to gifted young American Rickie Fowler leading the Westwood to draw furious comparison between “the voting practices” of the PGA Tour and those of world football federation Fifa.

In a message posted on his Twitter page, Westwood raged: “Sorry, 140 letters are not going to be enough for this rant!

“Just seen Ricky Fowler has been given Rookie of the Year! Yes, Ricky’s had a good year but Rory McIlroy was third in two Majors and demolished the field at Quail Hollow!

“Oh yes and he was on the winning Ryder cup team! Please! Is this yet another case of protectionism by the PGA Tour or are they so desperate to win something! Wouldn't have something to do with Rory not joining the tour next year?

“Maybe the PGA Tour just employs the same voting process as FIFA,” added Westwood (below with McIlroy), plainly still fuming over the world governing body of football's decision to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia ahead of the nation of his birth, England.

The PGA Tour do not reveal how many votes players receive in their annual awards poll or the margin of victory, which does little for the credibility of their system.

Though six months younger than Fowler, who turned pro after last year's Walker Cup, McIlroy said he did not regard himself as a rookie after more than three years on the European Tour.

Yet one of America's hottest players, Dustin Johnson, said last weekend that he regarded McIlroy as favourite for the award, though he didn't vote.

“He (Fowler) is going to get votes because he's had a decent year,” Johnson said. “But McIlroy is going to win. He's got to win.” Told of the result, Johnson added: “Rickie won? Maybe (it's because) he's an American. I don't know why.” Enough said.

McIlroy rounded off his 2010 season last Sunday with a final-round 68, which left him in fourth place on 11-under at The Chevron World Challenge, five outside of the playoff which was won by fellow Ulsterman Graeme McDowell.

World No 11 McIlroy now faces a six-week break, which should give him ample opportunity to do some much-needed work on his short game and putting.

As he showed once again at Sherwood Country Club, McIlroy's long game is a match for anyone's, even an in-form Tiger Woods last Friday ... but he frittered away far too many shots for comfort around and on the greens at Sherwood.

He took six at 18 on Friday, when he bladed a chip from greenside rough right through the putting surface, and a triple-bogey seven there on Saturday after taking two to get out of a greenside bunker.

As Mark Roe, Sky TV pundit and a respected short game coach, observed, McIlroy probably needs to expand his repertoire of chip shots. In that respect, he need look no further than the sterling work McDowell has done in that department with Pete Cowen over the past 12 months.

Belfast Telegraph

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