Supreme Westwood provides perfect Dubai finale
Lee Westwood left the BBC 5 live radio booth, beer in hand, with a trademark quip. "I'll be on 606 later, you can read me on the message boards," he said with a satisfied smile.
Having covered the Tour for the last seven seasons I am struggling to recall a more dominant performance in such a significant event. You probably have to go back to Nick Faldo's 1996 demolition of Greg Norman at Augusta before you can identify better golf from an Englishman.
Caddie Billy Foster and Lee Westwood celebrate the golfer's Dubai success
With both titles on the line he was bogey free in compiling weekend rounds of 66 and 64. It was the best golf of Westwood's life.
His objective from here has to be to harness that mental approach at the majors. If he does watch out; green jackets, claret jugs and the rest of the most prized trophies in the game could easily be making their way to Westwood Towers.
It is hard to imagine anyone in the world being capable of beating him in the form he showed in dropping just two shots in 72 holes on the Earth Course and that includes Tiger Woods.
OK it wasn't a major but he was determined to overhaul Rory McIlroy in the Race to Dubai and he was treating it with the intensity of one of the big four championships as he sought to overcome the disappointment of missing out on the Open at Turnberry in July.
Clearly his partnership with Foster has provided the missing link. Westwood has never been one for the mind gurus ("They all look funny don't they," he once said) but Foster has effectively provided that role.
"We are good mates," Westwood said. "You're never quite sure how that's going to turn out when you start working with somebody you get on really well with."
Well it has worked out just fine and Foster has the confidence and caddie intelligence to administer the right advice at the right time. He was in Westwood's ear the entire 72 holes to ensure his boss's mind was in the right place.
"I'll probably get done by the stewards for excess whipping," Foster told this blog. "I just worked really hard on making him focus on every shot and worrying about what he has to do and not worry about what anybody else was doing."
It was the perfect advice, best illustrated by McIlroy's performance this week. Finishing third was a fine effort and would ordinarily have been enough to secure a money-list title given the lead he held going into the final event.
But his admission that he would be happier playing with someone other than Westwood after the first round could only embolden the eventual champion and it did. McIlroy will learn and in the meantime we should be grateful for his candour.
To have heard the number of players raving about McIlroy's ball striking this week was convincing in the extreme, especially if his game on the greens tightens up. He's only 20 and runner up in the Race is some achievement.
But it is Westwood who is rightly Europe's number one. Foster has caddied for many great ball strikers; Darren Clarke, Sergio Garcia and in the absence of Steve Williams he is the man Woods has turned to for caddie duties.
"He is as good a ball striker as there is tee to green," Foster says of his current employer and he isn't surprised that Westwood is back in the winner's circle so soon after breaking his season duck in Portugal.
Rivals raved about McIlroy's ball striking in Dubai
"I figured that would take him back to the Westwood of old. He was the best closer in golf bar none 10 or12 years ago," Foster said.
It was the perfect scenario for the European Tour and their Middle Eastern hosts to have the Race decided by the winner of the inaugural Dubai World Championship.
Don't be fooled into thinking the Earth Course was a pushover because the winning score was 23 under par. "I'd have been quite happy to walk off there 16 or 17 under," said Foster.
The layout stood up well to the test and looked good on television. It'll never be a classic - it is a resort course tweaked enough to test the pros.
Was the Race to Dubai a success? It's a question I've been asked several times this week and on balance you would have to say yes. It provided a thrilling climax to the year and it felt as though it generated more attention than previous Orders of Merit.
You may be a better judge - did it do it for you?
Given the economic difficulties in Dubai at the moment it was right that the European Tour sought to cut prize money by 25%. It was still a massive investment by the Emirate and the idea is to use golf to sell property.
That will be the measure. Tour boss George O'Grady says "we are part of the solution" to the financial woes that have silenced so many cranes in these parts - let's hope the Dubai paymasters share his view.
In the meantime it's off to the 606 pages to check out what the new champion of Europe has to say and what you have to say to him. I'd start with a "very well done....."