The PGA Tour has a policy that requires a player who withdraws from a tournament after the commitment deadline to provide in writing the reason for the withdrawal. The reason has to be a good one or the player opens himself up to disciplinary action from the Tour.Considering PGATour.com ran a huge front page photo and story on Azinger's appearance, I think it's safe to say he'll soon be hearing from the VP for Fines and Other Brand Indiscretions.
"I'm not aware about the comment about his dad," said Henry Hughes, chief of operations of the PGA Tour, when he was contacted by a reporter Thursday. "I can certainly look into it. But what happens is at 5 p.m. Eastern time the preceding Friday of the tournament there is the deadline for commitment and withdrawal from a tournament. You are not able to commit after that. If you withdraw after that, it's considered something we look strongly at and we make sure it doesn't happen unless there is an explanation.
"It's subject to disciplinary action, an improper withdrawal. The local organizer is publicizing names and saying who is playing. People are basing their decision whether to come or not perhaps on certain players. We try and protect our tournaments that way. The players have two weeks to respond as to why they had an improper withdrawal or late withdrawal. We have not heard from Paul yet."
Withdrawing from a Tour event to play in a poker tournament would be viewed as improper, Hughes said.
"I did see the note that he was playing later in the week in a poker tournament," Hughes said. "What they do in their off-time is fine, but if he withdrew to play in the tournament, that would be an improper withdrawal."
Hughes said injury and sickness are reasons typically offered by players for late withdrawal.
The Associated Press story from the Buick Open said Azinger was asked Thursday if he would have withdrawn from that tournament had he been able to keep playing poker.
"Are you kidding?" Azinger said, laughing. "For a shot at $11.8 million? You're darn right I would have dropped out."
Playing in the British Open is like reading American history at Independence Hall or studying opera at La Scala. It’s golf at its most simple, its most pure, its most magnificent. JACK WHITAKER