Norman Give the best players a voice in scheduling


ORLANDO, Fla. – Lee Westwood’s skipping The Players Championship in May because it doesn’t fit his schedule.

Ernie Els is considering skipping the Presidents Cup in November because it’s scheduled the same week he’s supposed to defend his South African Open title in his homeland.

Lee Westwood (Nedbank Challenge) Graeme McDowell (Chevron World Challenge), Ian Poulter (Honk Kong Open) and Stuart Appleby (Australian Masters) are all scheduled to defend titles on the same weekend in December.

With tours around the world trying to protect their interests, scheduling is becoming a problem for the world’s best players and the fans who'd like to see the best players compete together more often.

How should the tour’s governing bodies straighten out a growing international scheduling mess?

Greg Norman says the place to start is by giving the world’s best players a stronger voice.

“Why not get the three, four or five top-10 players in the world, put them in a room for one night or two days or for lunch time, and ask them question?” Norman said from the Greg Norman Collections exhibit at the PGA Merchandise Show. “I’ve been saying that for 30 years. It’s never been done.

“There’s an advisory council [for the PGA Tour] that’s supposed to represent the players, but they’re not the No. 1 players in the world. They aren’t No. 2 players. They don’t know what it’s like, the expectations, to be pulled to Dubai, to be pulled to South Africa, to be pulled to Australia or China. But get the four or five guys that make the golfing world turn in a room. They aren’t all going to agree, they all have their own agendas, but then you’ll hear it all. After you hear it, you go away, and you assimilate all the information. You’re never going to make everyone happy, but a little quid pro quo every now and then does wonders.”