OK, time for a reality check

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Lee Westwood, seen here during the second round of the Qatar Masters.

Some tournament professionals just don’t get it. Some need serious reality checks.

Lee Westwood and Scott McCarron come at top of that list even though the 2010 season is only weeks old.

Westwood did himself no favors last week when he missed the cut in Abu Dhabi. Rounds of 69-78 saw him miss the weekend by five shots.

Of course it wasn’t Westwood’s fault. The European No. 1 blamed his clubs. “They just don’t feel right and don’t feel the same. They just feel like fishing rods,” Westwood said.

Three things strike me as odd about Westwood’s lament. One, the clubs didn’t seem to bother him when he shot 69 in the opening round. Two, I’d have thought the European No. 1 and world No. 4 would be able to play with any set of clubs. And, three, surely a seasoned professional like Westwood should have had his clubs tried and tested before his first competitive round of the year?

I wonder how Ping felt about its star player criticizing its product? Ping has paid Westwood millions over the years and gone to great lengths to make sure he was fitted out properly.

Talk about biting the hand that feeds you!

Ping flew club fitter James Turnball out to Qatar to work with Westwood. Considering Westwood’s behavior, Turnball could have been forgiven for telling Westwood to hop on a plane and come see him!

The work seems to have paid off since Westwood opened with rounds of 68-69 in Qatar.

Someone needs to have a word with the Englishman to tell him how good he’s got it. They should remind him not to diss the company he’s supposed to be promoting. Reminding him of that old adage of “a good craftsman never blames his tools” wouldn’t go amiss either.

As for McCarron, he blasted Anthony Kim for deciding to play in Abu Dhabi rather than the Bob Hope Classic. What planet is McCarron living on?

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Scott McCarron

Kim turned up in Abu Dhabi not because he wanted to see the sites of the UAE’s richest city – believe me, there isn’t much to see – he turned up because he got paid anywhere in the range of $200,000-250,000 to do so.

McCarron complained that Kim should have been at the Hope in order to please the sponsor. McCarron’s view might be altruistic, but it’s so far wide of reality it’s not even funny.

As one player said to me last week, “if you throw a dog a juicy bone, the dog isn’t going to ignore it.” Abu Dhabi threw a lot of bones around last week, to the tune of over $2 million.

Kim is playing both the PGA and European Tour’s this year. He needs to play 12 events in Europe to maintain membership. You don’t need a PhD to figure out that he’s going to play in those tournaments that pay him to turn up.

I dare say that if McCarron could command similar appearance cash he’d take it. So would any other professional.

And before we get all high and mighty about appearance money, think about what we’d do in a similar situation. If my bosses at Golfweek said they’d pay me appearance money on top of my normal salary just to turn up to cover tournaments, then I’m in. Same with anyone else reading this column if offered a similar deal.

Still, it’s good to see that not everyone gets common sense. What then would I have to write about?

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