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England's Wood defends golf team pick

AAP logoAAP 22/11/2016 Melissa Woods

Chris Wood has defended his controversial decision to dump Lee Westwood from the England team for this week's World Cup of Golf in Melbourne, saying it was the right thing to do.

Two-time winner England was set to be represented in the 28-nation tournament at Kingston Heath by Masters champion Willett and former world No.1 Westwood.

However just a fortnight ago world No. 11 Willett withdrew with a back injury and world No. 37 Wood was the next highest-ranked Englishman available to play.

Under the rules of the tournament the highest-ranked available player from each nation has the right to choose his teammate.

So Wood decided he wanted to play with the next in line, world No.40 Andy Sullivan, rather than Westwood, who is ranked seven places better.

That left Westwood seething as he had already worked out his end-of-year schedule and booked his flight to Melbourne.

"I can understand Lee's frustration but it was Danny who pulled out which affected him; nothing to do with me," Wood said on Tuesday.

"Dan got the choice to pick and he looked past the likes of myself, Sully (Sullivan), Fitz (Matthew Fitzpatrick), Tyrrell Hatton to go to pick Lee.

"I'm sure all of us felt a little bit frustrated by that but nothing was made of it.

"I've gone down the rankings and Sully was the guy behind me and I felt that was the right way to do it."

Wood said that he hadn't spoken to his Ryder Cup teammate Westwood about it but hoped they could soon sort out their differences.

"He's been really good with me every since I turned pro and he's obviously someone I've got a huge amount of respect for as a golfer," he said.

Wood and Sullivan have a long friendship, crossing paths on the golf course since their early teens.

He said that cameraderie was a bonus given the fourball and foursomes format over the four days starting Thursday.

Wood said he last played at Kingston Heath nine years ago as an amateur, and it didn't end well.

The 28-year-old ventured into the bushes to relieve himself and was stung on the eye by a bee.

"It could have been a lot worse," he laughed.

"I think I only managed four or five holes and I can't really remember an awful lot."

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