Westwood's time will come
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.
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.