March 3 (UPI) -- English golfers Lee Westwood and Tommy Fleetwood were offended by a recent slight of the European Tour during NBC's coverage of the 2020 Honda Classic.
Westwood and Poulter took exception to comments made by former American PGA Tour golfer Paul Azinger during his analysis of the tournament Sunday in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
"These guys know you can win all you want on that European Tour and the international game, but you have to win on the PGA Tour," Azinger said, referencing Westwood's two PGA Tour wins and 44 global victories.
"Well that's not the PGA Tour. They [European golfers] know that. "I think Tommy [Fleetwood] knows that. It puts a little pressure on Tommy. But this is where they want to be. They want to prove they can win at this level."
Poulter responded to the comments Sunday, after Sung-jae Im held off Fleetwood by two strokes to win the Honda Classic.
"I like Paul Azinger a lot and get on with him great," Poulter tweeted. "But Paul, please do not condescend or disrespect the European Tour and our players like that. We have slapped your [expletive] in the Ryder Cup for so long. I know you captained a win, but seriously, that was embarrassing [Sunday]."
Westwood responded to the comments Monday.
"I think Paul sometimes thinks he has to be controversial to be relevant," Westwood tweeted. "It's a little disappointing that Dan [commentator Dan Hicks] sits there and looks to be agreeing and then doesn't question his comments. The PGA Tour is a great tour, but in the current golfing climate, we shouldn't be creating divides."
Fleetwood has yet to win on the PGA Tour. He finished second at July's British Open and at the 2018 U.S. Open. He also finished fourth at the 2017 U.S. Open. Westwood's last PGA Tour win came at the 2010 St. Jude Classic. His only other win on the PGA Tour came in 1998.
Poulter has three PGA Tour victories, including: the 2018 Houston Open, 2012 World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions and World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship. Poulter has 48 top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour. He has 12 wins on the European Tour.
"One minute Paul [Azinger] walks down the range wishing you good luck before you play, the next he's condescending to the tour you play on and disrespects the tournaments you've won around the world," Westwood tweeted. "I've won in 19 different countries over four decades. That is disrespecting a lot of people!"
Azinger and Poulter exchanged text messages Sunday night after the Honda Classic.
"I wasn't trying to be malicious," Azinger told Golfweek. "I didn't mean to disrespect anyone. But professional golfers choke for two things: cash and prestige. And the PGA Tour has the most of both."
The Europeans have beaten the United States in four of the last five Ryder Cups. The Europeans have also won seven of the last nine Ryder Cups. Azinger captained the U.S. squad to a win at the 2008 Ryder Cup while facing Poulter and Westwood. Fleetwood and Poulter competed in the 2018 Ryder Cup, while Westwood served as a vice captain.
Azinger's comments came after Fleetwood had similar things to say about himself during a 2018 interview with The Telegraph.
"The next stage in my career would be to win on the PGA Tour," Fleetwood said. "If you want to be one of the world's best players, you have to do it in America."
Fleetwood, 29, moved up to No. 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking after his third-place finish at the Honda Classic. He has 17 top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour.
"A massive thank you to everyone," Fleetwood tweeted Monday. "I've had some lovely comments and emails about last week and I really appreciate it. Onwards and upwards folks, we will get there."
The 2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational is the next event on the PGA Tour schedule. The tournament is from Thursday through Sunday at the Bay Hill Club and Lounge in Orlando, Fla.