Willett announced last week that he would not be traveling to Melbourne, for fear of aggravating a back injury that has plagued him in recent weeks. His spot then went to the next-highest ranked Englishman, Justin Rose, who also opted not to play. That, in turn, meant the spot was offered to Chris Wood.
But tournament rules stipulate that the highest-ranked player has the option of picking his teammate, just as Willett selected Westwood months ago. Given the choice to team with Westwood, Wood instead opted to pair with Andy Sullivan for the Nov. 24-27 event.
It's a decision that leaves Westwood unexpectedly out of the tournament, and one that did not sit well with the man who started the domino effect.
"Obviously when the guys have booked their flights I think it's not quite right just because one guy pulls out that the other guy has to kind of withdraw without having a say in it," Willett told reporters at the DP World Tour Championship. "I think you just then go down the list and see which guy potentially wants to play. With such short notice, I don't see why they have switched it around and made it two brand new guys."
Willett has struggled with his form in recent weeks, but he did notch a T-11 finish last week in South Africa. Despite the back injury concerns, he plans to tee it up this week in Dubai with hopes of winning the season-long Race to Dubai for the first time.
"It was a decision made purely with my best interests going forward," he said of the World Cup withdrawal. "Unfortunately the backlash is the Westy situation. I just think it was a bit unfair for the tournament to kind of go about it the way they did."