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Westwood's time will come

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Iain Carter | 14:02 UK time, Monday, 12 April 2010

The knock is getting louder. Someone the other side has to hear it soon, turn the key and let Lee Westwood walk through the door to major glory.

Golfing greatness is measured by the majors you win and Westwood is edging ever closer to joining this elite. His runners-up finish at the Masters followed on the heels of two third places in the last two majors of 2009.

There is no doubt the man who went into Augusta ranked fourth in the world is punching his weight in the upper echelons of the game. He will feel deep frustration at another major being taken from him but there were plenty of positives to be gained from the first major of the year.

The biggest of those is that he almost won the Masters, which by his own admission is the one of the four majors he is likely to find most difficult to win. There is such a premium on the short game at Augusta and this is the relative weakness in the Westwood armoury.

"If you sat me down at the start of the year and asked me to rate which ones suit me I would probably put the Masters last," Westwood said. "So to finish second is obviously a major boost for the rest of the year."

Conversely Augusta undoubtedly suits the champion Phil Mickelson better than any other course on the planet. He is the ultimate Masters each way bet with six top five finishes to go with his three victories.

But it is not just about having a game that fits the course. Augusta fits Mickelson's natural instincts to gamble and go for it. It offers the spots where he can miss and make recoveries if plan A doesn't come off.

Westwood is a more pragmatic golfer - one who believes his steadiness from tee to green and reliability with the putter will be good enough. It was for three rounds, but more often than not the eventual winner also has to do something that seizes the moment.

The Englishman made it to 10 under par after 13 holes of his second round and had a chance to take a stranglehold on the tournament. Of course it is never that easy at Augusta where the margins between success and failure are so tight.

So his policy of rolling with the punches was spot on. The double bogey on the 14th didn't derail him and one hole later he hit a truly magnificent and well thought out second shot into the sensible portion of the 15th green. A two putt birdie followed.

By the 54-hole mark Westwood had earned a one-shot lead to take into the final round. There was still no need to change tack.

Phil Mickelson (l) and Lee Westwood (r)Lee Westwood (r) congratulates Phil Mickelson on his victory at Augusta. Pic: Getty.

But strangely, in the final round, it was his greatest strength that then became his undoing. His accuracy from the tee deserted him. On the first it cost a shot that put his round on the back foot.

Westwood's chipping fears persuaded him to play the percentages and putt from off the back of the fourth and it cost him another stroke. Errant tee shots on the seventh and the eighth put him under more pressure and it told on the ninth where he three-putted.

Mickelson, meanwhile, was hanging in there and waiting to make his move. The par save on the ninth emboldened him and gave him the chance to seize the moment on the back nine.

We will all remember the second shot six iron from behind the trees off the pine needles on to the 13th green, but the real turning point was the birdie one hole earlier.

In 2004 it was at that glorious 12th where Mickelson made it happen en route to his first green jacket and he did it again this time with his 20-foot birdie putt from the back of the green.

But let it not be forgotten that it is a lot easier to do it again and again once you have a couple of those precious garments in your wardrobe.

That's one luxury Westwood is yet to acquire, so it is perhaps not so easy for him to identify the moment where you have to go for broke. If you are ahead why take any chances? If you are behind don't risk playing yourself out of it when the opposition might come back to you.

These are the thought processes he has acquired from becoming a multiple winner on Tour, but sometimes it does take that moment of inspiration where the eventual champion snatches the tournament away from the rest.

Westwood has yet to find that occasion. It might have happened at Torrey Pines at the US Open in 2008 or at the Open at Turnberry last year or, indeed, somewhere in that closing round at Augusta if his game had been firing on all cylinders.

But it wasn't possible with the driver not behaving as usual and in the face of an inspired opponent.

Westwood played his most convincing golf over the last three holes when he had no other option than to fire at the pins. He was rewarded with a birdie at the 17th but that wasn't enough.

Would a bolder, less pragmatic approach earlier in the round have served him better or was it that he was simply beaten by the better man on the day? It is probably the latter, but Mickelson was the man who went against his caddie's advice to go for that audacious six iron on the 13th.

Had he made the eagle we were all expecting as a result it would have been all over there and then.

It would be a wrong to be critical of Westwood for this near miss. He was a credit all week and he is edging ever closer. Patiently he fulfilled every interview request after his round and did it with charm despite his bitter disappointment.

It was the work of a true professional and he was keen to take the opportunity to let us all know he will comeback stronger for the experience. "I've got to keep doing the things I'm doing," he said.

"I think my short game can improve, even though it is a lot, lot better. It was a masterclass from Phil around the greens. That's the sort of standard you have to be up to.

"The closer I get to winning these major championships, the more I want the next one to come around," he said. The next major stop is the US Open at Pebble Beach. "The last time the US Open was there I finished fifth, so I will be looking forward to that.

"Law of averages says the door is going to open one day," Westwood added. When it happens he won't have to wait for someone to hear the knocks and open it for him.

All the attributes are there for him to be able to turn the key and walk through all on his own.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I really, really hope you're right Ian. I gotta say, and this is probably going to hurt a lot of people out there, but I'm beginning to doubt it now. I watched the BBC's entire coverage last night for over 4 hours. That's 4 hours I'll never get back Lee! Don't get me wrong Uncle Phil was divine at times, but as a massive supporter of British golf it was disappointing to see Westy capitulate like that. Surely his confidence will have taken a big knock from yesterday's events?

    Also Ian I'd be intrigued to hear your views on Europe's chances of retaining the Ryder Cup. With so many of our so called major players missing the cut I fear we could be in for some disappointment come Wales. That coupled with some excellent US players having a great weekend; Phil, Tiger, Kim (hugely impressive - major danger man) and Watney as well. On a slightly separate note I'd keep one eye on the young Italian Mannaserco possible wild card me thinks...

  • Comment number 2.

    Good piece Ian, I have no doubt Westwood will win a major. In fact, he will have a great chance at Pebble Beach in the US Open, particularly with Tiger unlikely to play much if any lead up events. As you say, his great strength is his long game and having this in order is imperative around there.

    Suggesting he capitulated is ridiculous though - he shot 71 and would have had to shoot 68 to tie Mickelson. Noone in the history of the Masters has shot sub 70 in all 4 rounds, it would have been a great achievement - it is very tough to be right at it for all 4 rounds of a major - Phil had his average round on Friday.

    Phil was just inspired and Lee couldn't quite match him on the day. Great entertainment though!

  • Comment number 3.

    Can you all be more British? I am a dual citizen of here and the US, and it never fails to amaze me the difference in psychology between the two. Only in Britain could second be praised so highly when it is on a repeated basis. In order for Brits to start winning the culture has to change. In the US second would get a 'okay not bad but its not first' approach compared to saying that a nearly 37 year golfer is doing great for capitulating in his final round. Even Westwood's comment 'the law of averages' is truly pathetic. There is no 'law of averages' just who plays the best. Is it AVERAGE that Woods has won 14 majors, that Mickleson has won four, that even Angel Cabrera, no one's idea of a super talent, has beaten any Brit to a win. Sucess will come only when first is seen as the only acceptable result.

  • Comment number 4.

    Interesting piece Ian. Risks do pay off but its easier for Phil to take risks when he has a few majors in the bag already. I've backed Westwood to win the last 10 majors and will keep backing him!
    I only hope he doesnt start getting labelled as one of the best players never to have won a major.
    Such labels dont help, it didnt do Monty much good!!

  • Comment number 5.

    The turning point in the Masters was obvious. It came on Saturday when Mickleson's second shot at the 14th. dropped in the hole. This was the shot that topped a week-end, when good fortune was raining all over Phil.
    The effect of a five shot gain in just 3 holes shattered Poulter and knocked Westwood for a loop. That was obvious.
    Still, in the end, only a boor could begrudge Mickleson his title, and it certainly was a far more popular win for true fans of golf, than the one, the media and 'fair weather' fans, who just want to bask in Wood's reflected glory, wanted.

  • Comment number 6.

    #3: Dual Citizen?? Really? Sounds like you're 100% American! Westwood didnt capitualte! He didn't have a great round but I dont think shooting -1 on the final day of a major is capitulating, 2 shots less and he would have been the first man EVER to shoot in the 60's all 4 rounds, American or otherwise, great or average. Mickelson just stepped up his game as do all great players. Mickleson was regarded as great long before he won a Major, and I don't remember anyone saying he didnt have the mentality despite all his second and third place finishes prior to his first Major win, they believed in his ability. I'm sure you could find plenty of English players who have capitulated over the years but was it not Kenny Perry last year who was 2 up with 2 to play? Westwood started the day with a 1 shot lead no more. The experience of winning is how you close out Major championships, and I am sure Westwood will win one soon. Not every player peaks in their 20's, many take years to develop into the finished article.

  • Comment number 7.

    That's also one of the reasons why a large persentage of the world hate the US hunterlevi, win at all costs, to the extent that it's become win at any costs and we've all seen where that leads many people.

    The world is undoubtedly changing, but does that now mean that sporting behaviour and acknowledging consistently high quality performances is no longer 'good enough'?

    Is this really the way of the world now?
    I certainly hope not, I'd rather be one of the best around (not the I ever will be) and stick to the rules than aspire for greatness if the only way to get there is by dubious means, NOT that I'm saying this happened at Augusta.

  • Comment number 8.

    #6 top post - with you all the way.

    Noone has mentioned the fact that it was a US major as well - Phil on home turf with a lot of partisan support, and Lee away from home - he also stays loyal to the European Tour even though he could jump ship full time to the US Tour.

    I don't think enough is made of the fact that 3 majors are held in the States. For a game that likes to think of itself as being global, for 3 of the majors to be held in the US makes it tougher for International players to win. Even many of the WGC events are held in the US.

    Winning a major is tough, Westwood is a top player, would have been no 2 in the world if he had win yesterday I think, let's be proud of him. Considering Andy Murray gets so much press for his tennis exploits, we should be giving Westwood, Poulter, Casey, Fisher et al more press for their achievements.

  • Comment number 9.

    "At 5:31pm on 12 Apr 2010, hunterlevi wrote:
    Can you all be more British?"

    Chandler, is that you?!?!

    On the point of Lee Westwood, the general opinion is that "his time will come..." Just like Colin Montgomerie, Tim Henman, Darren Clarke, Greg Rusedski...

    I want to see Brits winning the major tournaments, I want Lee Westwood's day to come... But I cringe when presenters push the analysts for their thoughts on the chances of a Brit winning a major...

    I know it creates bigger audiences to big up the chances of a Brit, but perhaps TV stations in the UK (BBC especially) should consider a different approach...

    Could they perhaps be impartial and just view each competitor as an individual, and their nationality could be considered irrelevant. Let's not forget that even if Westwood did win yesterday it would have been his individual honour, and the fact he was British wouldn't matter - The population couldn't have some claim of ownership to HIS title could they?

    That said, every sport fan loves a winner from their own country, but if my above-mentioned approach was adopted by British TV stations then they could stop sticking cameras in the faces of the likes of Lee Westwood and Andy Murray and remind them how many years it has been since somebody who happens to be the same nationality as them has won a major title in their particular sport?

    It may just mean that those individuals only have to deal with the pressure that they put on themselves, rather than the pressure of an expectant nation that is heaped on them by pushy reporters?

  • Comment number 10.

    Don`t think Westwood will win a major anytime soon his chipping is still suspect to me,in fact I hate to say this but Poulter would be my choice if I had to pick one.None of the british or european golfers for that matter are first class putters on fast greens which are envitable on most major courses.Just one more point I would say that within 6 tournaments the teenage Italian will have the label attached as requisit by the idiot pundits "He is going to win a tournament/major soon ",I would list all of the ones they have said it about but there is just not enough time in a week to list all of them !!!!!

  • Comment number 11.

    While I agree with post #3 in that we as a country are too tolerant of high finishes being successful (who remembers the country going wild because some random wildcard won a match at Wimbledon?).
    However this was not one of those cases, Westwood was simply outplayed in the final round by Mickelson - you have to stand up and applaud the fact that there were many opportunities for Mickelson to drop shots, but he saved par every time. The shot at 13 was sensational, but 14 the day before was the one that gave him the momentum.
    Westwood did very little wrong in the final round - 2 bogeys is nothing around a course like Augusta - and indeed still shot under par with gutsy putts at 13,14 and 17. The mark of a champion.
    Woods will start a huge favourite at Pebble Beach and St Andrews - but the great thing about professional sport is you just never know.

  • Comment number 12.

    Westwood performed admirably on the last day given the pressure he must have felt (but didn't show). There are many worse golfers than Lee Westwood who have won a major, the same can be said of Colin Montgomery and Sergio Garcia. Sometimes its just about everything falling into place over a specific four days in the calendar..it happened to Andy North twice in the US Open for instance. 37 isn't ancient by golf standards but I think he probably has to break his duck this year because his form has been streaky in the past and there's no guarantee he can play at this level for the next three years or so.

    Also, to the guy who commented that basically second is nothing..I actually agree with you when it comes to career defining events like Major Championships in Golf or Grand Slam events in tennis..I mean Tiger wasn't overjoyed about being fourth was he? Faldo can't actually tell you how many top 3 finishes he had in majors (I've seen evidence of this on CBS) but everybody knows he won 6 of them and for better or worse thats how careers in golf are evaluated..

  • Comment number 13.

    mischievousCheesy101:

    "Also, to the guy who commented that basically second is nothing..I actually agree with you when it comes to career defining events like Major Championships in Golf or Grand Slam events in tennis..I mean Tiger wasn't overjoyed about being fourth was he? Faldo can't actually tell you how many top 3 finishes he had in majors (I've seen evidence of this on CBS) but everybody knows he won 6 of them and for better or worse thats how careers in golf are evaluated.."

    But of course that is how they will, and SHOULD be evaluated, the majors are the biggest tournaments in the world. Who remembers who finished 3rd at the Open in 1910? The immortality of having your name on the roll of honour is reserved for the champions, and the memory of the also-rans are erased by time.

  • Comment number 14.

    I think Lee has put in some great performances, and was beaten by the better man on the day this time.

    But he must keep up the good work with his golf, and add an extra layer of pure determination to capture a major title.

  • Comment number 15.

    Not a hope of a major for Lee 'Monty' Westwood

  • Comment number 16.

    Hmmm, I don't agree with many of the commenters here. we are only a small country in the grand scheme of things-all this 'nothing but a win is good enough' is stupid. Second is brilliant, WELL DONE Lee. As to whether he will win one, I fear he may miss out, but with luck he may well win one. It is NOT the be all and end all in my opinion, winning that is. For me what counts is getting the best out of your ability, and taking your chances when they come.

    The guy who said Westwood capitulated!!!!!!! Was he watching the same tournament as I did?? He was quite simply beaten by a better player on the day...yes, he might have been more aggressive on a chip shot, but that was his decision, end of. And on Monty, Henman, etc, these guys all did great. Who else got further at Wimbledon since Fred Perry???? Yet the media make out he is a failure, unbelievable. Dont read these tabloid rags-they are full of it, particularly the one up in the sky!

  • Comment number 17.

    Matt Collins,

    I don't think the tabloid's should be singled out, yes they feed off those less-rational individuals who probablies feel that England should win the world cup this year "Because we invented it!", you have people like Hazel Irvine asking Sam Torrance if he thinks Lee will win, and threatening to "Hold him to it", and people like Sue Barker asking john McEnroe if Murray will win Wimbledon - literally asking "Will Murray win Wimbledon?"

    I think they should cut this out, and stop bigging up the chances of British individuals, I watched this Masters tournament and enjoyed all of the golf played by everyone in the field, the highlights being Fred Couples etc. Just sit back and enjoy, and god knows we may have the occassional joy of a Brit winning one of these events.

    I'm not trying to criticize Monty or Henman, I'll always reflect on those glory days of Monty finishing 2nd at the Open in 2005, and Henman's 5 setter against Ivanesivic in 2001. But it always makes me cringe how the likes of the BBC try to build viewers hopes up, because they always invariably end up with egg on their face. I'd have watched the last couple of rounds of the Masters if all the Europeans missed the cut and 'Big Phil' was 20 shots clear of the chasing pack!

    And for Matt Collins, you asked who has went further than Tim Henman since Fred Perry? Well Bunny Austin reached the final of Wimbledon a couple of years after Perry won it - another one of these 'Bottlers' then? Just kidding!

  • Comment number 18.

    Does anyone remember the previous major winner to Harrington? It was that bloke at Carnoustie, wasn't it? He won in bad weather, when the French bloke threw it away. Is that what it's going to take for a British winner again, bad weather and luck?

    Of course we enjoy the occasion purely for the drama, but that drama is about who will win and British golfers seem to be too comfortable just below the very top of the game. They'll tell you they want to win and you can see from some of the shots they play that they do have the skill, but not when it really counts. That might well change when they're playing as part of a team in the Ryder Cup, but, in the majors, they're not playing for anyone but themselves.

    It was no surprise to me that Poulter, ostensibly the most confident of the confident, lost his game on Saturday, Westwood shoved his drive on the first into the trees and Casey blew a triple bogey after three consecutive birdies on Thursday. Time and again, a British golfer plays themselves out of contention, then, when the pressure's off, they make a charge that will leave people saying "if only", to not quite win. Well they might be remembered by future commentators, but not by future golf fans and they won't inspire others to take up the game. We admire winners and, occasionally, plucky losers who have been genuinely unfortunate, but there is a limit.

    Westwood doesn't have to unlock the door, he has to learn from Mickelson and smash that door to smithereens. Go out and win a major, don't expect one to fall in your lap because you're quite good. We need winners in this country, in all sports. We don't need false hope or the build them up to knock them down in the media. We need a Lyle, Woosnam or Faldo and more champions who think like Lewis Hamilton, not more Poulters, Westwoods, Caseys. It is about winning, not taking part.

  • Comment number 19.

    Westwoods time will come it is inevitible his putting on fast greens has been questioned it was very nearly immaculate for the whole tournament the 3 putt on 9 on Sunday the only blemish. As a big Mickleson and Westwood fan the last day was tough for me although i was rooting for Westwood but Phil played great and although Lee played well it was always going to be tough as no one has ever shot 4 sub 70 rounds in the Masters. Also the first comment is puzzling me I was at the Ryder Cup a couple of years ago and disticntly remember the U.S winning the match fairly convincingly so how were going to retain the cup is a mystery to me. Also singleing out Mannassero as a Wild Card pick hes an amateur at school whos turning pro over the next 3 years so would not be available also no one should push him to turn pro to early as this would be a mistake that many fall into aand never make it.

  • Comment number 20.

    Where does Westwood get this? "law of averages says the door is going to open one day".
    At the rate it is going and when you look at his game around the green, law of average says someone else will get through the door everytime before him.

  • Comment number 21.

    Matt Collins - I disagree - we are not a 'small country' - we are one of nearly 60 million people, of which golf is one of the most played sports we have. How much smaller is Australia then we are - yet all the excuses get trucked out - the weather etc - but at the end of the day I truly believe that our youngsters and a lot of sportsman in general get mollycuddled and get rewarded well for being mediocre - a case in point is Alex Bogdanovic.
    Westwood played extremly well and finished 2nd behind an inspired Mickelson, fair play to Mickel, and unlucky Westwood. Poulter however got himself into position and wasnt good enough over the weekend - thats not good enough. Yet he will get a pat on the back for finishing top 10, top 15, whatever it was.
    There is absolutly nothing wrong with as a country having the mentality (and yes it maybe arrogance) that you go out expecting to win, you play to win, you play as hard as you can to win - and if you dont win - your are irritated and disappointed. Ultimatly if you play well and someone beats you like Westwood had, you hold your hands up, but if you can clearly play better (Poulter, Casey, McIlroy) then its just not good enough and they must improve.

  • Comment number 22.

    dont forget where Westwood was a couple of years ago. Down and nearly out. He picked himself up and has become a truly great player only time and mental ability will tell if he can grab a major. On a happier note I was just delighted that a certain chap who advertises crisps with a blow up body was nowhere to be seen. At last the Beeb has finally realised that Hazel Irvine is best for golf.

  • Comment number 23.

    I think Lee Westwood once he wins a major will then go on to win a few more. His all around game is too good not to. It's just getting the monkey off his back to get the first one. This years Masters belong to Mickelson and his wife and family. His run started when he chipped-in his second shot on the par four on the Saturday.

    So far as Woods goes you can't change a zebra's stripes and call him a horse. He's still John McEnroe of the links!

    Peter, Montreal

  • Comment number 24.

    Okay in my 24 hour absence I have been slated by the critics so here goes...

    Matt Collins and others who disagreed with me saying Westy capitulated in the final round.

    At the time I was hesitant to use it, but for want of another appropriate word in my vocabulary, I went with it. There was nothing at all to stop Westy going out on the final day and shooting a round in the 60s. Screw this nonsense about it 'never having been done before'. He knew Uncle Phil was only a shot off him, and he knew he had to keep his game, shot selection, etc at the same level. He didn't. Does this mean he capitulated? Probably not, but I know of no other word that fits the facts.

    1putt4life I can't see any reason why Europe can't retain the Ryder Cup. So we were whipped 2 years ago that doesn't mean squat. Expect some serious Tiger heckling if he goes. Oh and also I'm pretty sure young Manassero said he was turning pro at the Italian Open this summer. Not enough time to make up the qualification points, but if he puts in some decent performances and has good outing at the Open I know of no reason why Monty can't pick him as a wild card. Unlikely but still...

  • Comment number 25.

    I agree with you WillyGilly, all the players around the lead were shooting low scores but Westwood played only a couple of decent iron shots all day, while other players were showing imagination Westwood was playing poor, dour golf.

    If it hadn't have been for some good puts Westwood would have shot over par. While we were watching eagles going in from all around the course, Westwood never had a realistic eagle shot all day.

    From his drive on the first the writing was on the wall, I knew he was not going to win. If phil had not played so well Lee would have lost to someone else, as he has done every single time he's been in contention for a major. Seve and Faldo would have relished the situation but for Lee, despite his assertions that he would be able to handle the pressure clearly could not.

  • Comment number 26.

    Lee Westwood is good enough and has the game now to win majors. No one else could have got close to him on Sunday at the Masters except Mickleson, and that was only because he was his playing partner and could choose when to turn the screw instead of going for broke from the 1st hole. It was a matchplay final round, pure and simple. Mickleson executed perfectly though and all credit to him.

    Lee has the right people behind him and will get it done. I personally think the two Opens are his best bet this year, as the man himself said he knows what it takes to win at Pebble Beach, and as we saw at Augusta, when he plays to his strengths he is a match for anyone. St Andrews will be similar to Augusta although the tests of the old course will be far more subtle, nevertheless Lee is the form player in the world right now and has done a great job in sticking to his plan over the years rather than being swayed by others. Good luck Lee!

  • Comment number 27.

    Why are some of you criticising Westwood?? He didn't choke, showed few signs of nerves and was actually still in the golf tournament up until 17!!

    Comment number 25: yes Westwood drove poorly & holed some crucial putts but couldn't the same be said for Mickelson? Ok the shot on 13 was top drawer but that was a seriously poor drive and he was lucky to have a clear shot to the green.

    I can recall numerous drives by Phil that were absolutely dire but somehow landed up in a decent spot. On another day he would have posted 75 just as easy.

    He's the only British player with any balls at the moment. Poulter talks a good game but he choked on day 3, Casey always talks himself up but never really performs, Fisher? Choked at the Open. Give Westwood some credit, he's mixing it with the big boys and looking pretty damn good!!!

    I have Westwood for a major this year.

  • Comment number 28.

    Westwood is better than Johnson, Curtis, Rogers and many one off Major winners but he just might not have their luck, that hot streak could elude him when it really matters on a Major Sunday.

    At Augusta he came up against a more gifted Golfer and struggled to compete from the first drive to the final green. At no time did I feel confident he would come up with the special defining shots that we saw from Mickleson. He is a wonderful player and may go higher in the rankings but I don't think he has that extra something that the great champions have.

    I hope he proves me wrong and does win his Major because he handled every interview with such grace and dignity but I also hope he doesn't win one by default because he's more than a one off fluke winner. Monty never won his and has a career record which Lee can only aspire too.

    If Lee is to succeed he'll need to improve his all round game and work, work, work at the touch chips which seem to be his achilles heel.

  • Comment number 29.

    Mickelson was brilliant, but on the final day Westwood didn't really do the business. He never looked like the same player he was on the first three days, when he looked like he owned the place. On days 1-3 he was superb, but didn't have it at the death. It's not the first time he has fallen at the highest level when he had the chance. Winning a major in the last round against Mickelson or Woods is a tough ask, but he had a good chance at the Open when Cink won didn't he? Winning the Race to Dubai in style is not really at the same level. He has awesome ballstriking and his putting has improved beyond belief, and he has the talent to win against anyone, but maybe not the self belief when the stakes are at their highest. With Billy Foster on the bag, maybe that will change.

    As for saying, winning is all that matters, get a life. Woods has won more than anyone in the last 10 years, but when was the last time you saw him enjoy himself or even smile, unless he hit a wonder shot or won a title? Very successful, and very miserable. What about his comments after his round on Sunday - he looked like somebody had died.. or that he had just wasted all the time he spent preparing for the tournament and the 4 days he played. Does anyone really want to encourage people to copy that attitude?

  • Comment number 30.

    At the risk of being pedantic (okay im bored and being picky simply for something to do) we have a very good chance of winning the Ryder Cup and therefore regaining the Ryder Cup, unfortunatly we have no chance of retaining the Cup as to retain means to hold on to something you already have and as we lost the Cup last time out we are unable to retain it as we are not in possesion of it.

  • Comment number 31.

    The first paragraph of this blog shows why Westwood will never win a major. do you think Tiger knocks on the door waiting for the door to open, no he smashes the door down and takes what he wants. face it everybody, Westwood will never win a major, he isnt good enough...

  • Comment number 32.

    To those of you such as WillyGilly who imply that either (a) Westwood choked, capitulated, bottled it, whatever or (b) hasn't got the game to win a major, I have to say I disagree totally.

    Examples of people who have (arguably) choked in majors: Van der Velde, Doug Sanders, Goosen (missed a 2 footer to win, won play off), Hoch 1989 Masters, Floyd 1990 Masters, Norman 1996 Masters, Mickleson and Monty 2005 US Open. Westwood played a solid round and made sure that he didn't totally fall apart by taking huge risks. Many people have got in that position and panicked, then made big mistakes. Couples did it in 98, Strange did it one year. At Augusta you can easily shoot a big number and rule yourself out. Westwood didn't. Furthermore, Mickleson took risks that paid off. He hit several errant tee shots but escaped. Phil boxed a long one on 12 which changed the momentum, then Lee missed a makeable one on 15. Westwood had a couple of other putts (eg 16) that burned the hole - that's the difference.

    Statistically, the odds are probably against him winning a major. But I think he has he game and the temperament to do so. His short game might be the weakest area of his game, but we are talking fractions really.

    You may forget how many 'inferior; players have won majors in the last 10 or 15 years - Micheel, Beem, Lawrie, Brookes, Grady, etc. O'Meara was a journeyman then bagged two in a year. So was Harrington and he bagged 3.

    Westwood is definitely good enough mentally and in terms of ability. AS Nicklaus once said - "the way that you learn to win is by losing". I think Westwood is learning how to win a major. Hardly any players just win from no-where. PRior to Phils first win he was the nearly man - many people doubted him, now look at him.

  • Comment number 33.

    There seem to be some hugely bizarre comments on this thread, particularly those that make reference to 'capitulation,' and Westwood not having the mental fortitude to close out the tournament. Lee looked very much in control of what he wa trying to do, and by the time Phil struck that 6 iron on Sunday the outcome was already pretty much in the bag.....the holed iron from the fairway on Saturday, followed up by a second eagle and Lee's errant tee shot on the 1st on Sunday were the writing on the wall.

    Very simply, Phil played better. Its got nothing to do with bottle. Thats's what makes sport so interesting, and too often there is a post mortem into what went wrong, and why so and so lost, where the reason is very straightforward....one person/team played better than the other. Phil played better golf on Sunday than Lee....and it could happen another day, another tournament and the outcome the other way round.

    I think Lee would do well to consider the outcome of the closely contested Majors of the last 20 years, and its firghtening to see how many of them come down to a chip, stone dead, a lipped-out putt, holed bunker shot etc. Its not often about a drive or a fairway wood (Padraig excluded!) - I mean, look at Cabrera on the 18th atlast year's Masters! Without question, Lee's long game is outstanding - I don't think it gets better than that. Bring the short game confidence up just 10-20% and there's several Majors there for the taking. I really don't believe its got anything to do with 'capitulation.'

  • Comment number 34.

    Lee WILL win a major. Played against him at Junior level and above all else he is a winner. Hasn't bottled ANY of the previous major's that he narrowly missed out on. If you bottle or choke then you post high numbers or throw away leads and he hasn't done either.

    He'll get one in the next 2 years.

  • Comment number 35.

    my point will be proven later today when lee westwood throws away another big event. i apologise that i am harsh towards lee but he isnt good enough when it matters.

  • Comment number 36.

    I wasn't any more surprised than you Jack.

 

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