Lee Westwood Rules Himself Out Of 2021 Tokyo Olympics
Lee Westwood is the latest big-name player to opt out of this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.
There’s no guarantee the current World No. 21 would have qualified, but speaking ahead of this week’s PGA Championship, the Englishman stated that regardless of qualification, he won’t be teeing it up at Kasumigaseki CC at the end of July.
“I have already pulled out. I’ve given notice that I’m not going to play in the Olympics,” the 48-year-old explained when asked if his thoughts were on the Tokyo Games.
Expanding on the reasons behind the decision, Westwood cited the already congested schedule and his age as factors.
“Many, many reasons. I have a few family commitments, and I already proved a few weeks ago that playing seven in eight weeks is not good for me,” he continued.
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“And there’s already a lot of tournaments crammed in around there – Scottish Open, Open Championship. I need a couple of weeks off between there and the FedEx in Memphis.
“Then there’s only another week off and I could be playing three FedExCup events, the PGA, a week off, then the Ryder Cup. I want to be in good shape for all of those.
“I think going to Japan the week before Memphis, just with all that going on, is a bad idea, especially when I can’t say whether I’m in it at the moment anyway.
“I’m of an age where I need to make a plan and stick to that going forward, else my game suffers.”
Westwood now joins the likes of World No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Adam Scott in announcing their withdrawal from the tournament that endured similar setbacks in 2016 as a result of the Zika virus.
However, Westwood thinks a tweak to the competition and qualification process could make it a more appealing option for players in the future.
“I know why they brought the Olympics to golf, and I’m all for that. It’s taking it to another audience, and obviously the funding from the Olympic committee feeds down through golf, which is great.
“I just feel like maybe they didn’t quite get the format right or the players that play in it right and the qualification right.”
After more than a century since its last playing, golf was reinstated as an Olympic sport in 2016 when Justin Rose won gold for Team GB.