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The curious case of Lee Westwood

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Iain Carter | 15:05 UK time, Monday, 9 April 2012

What did it take to win the 2012 Masters? "Bubba" golf. That's what the new champion calls his unique approach to the game.

The winner departed the Augusta National with no need to break into his prize money to pay a coach because, famously, Bubba Watson claims never to have received a golf lesson.

"My caddie has always called it Bubba golf," Watson explained. "I just play the game, the game that I love."And truthfully, it's like the game that Seve played. He hit shots that were unbelievable. Phil Mickelson hits the shot, he goes for it.

"He goes for broke and that's why he wins so many times," Watson added explaining the philosophy that enabled him to hook a wedge 40 yards right from the trees to win the second sudden death hole against Louis Oosthuizen.

A green jacket adorns Watson's shoulders because we can now say with certainty that "Bubba Golf" is good enough to win major titles.

The American left hander's philosophy goes against the more scientific approach so many of the leading professionals follow.

Bubba Watson is awarded the green jacket by Charl Schwartzel after his one-stroke play-off victory. Photo: Getty

Each to their own, of course, but when you think world number one Luke Donald has a coach in Dave Alred who specialises in teaching his pupils how to practice - never mind play - and you can see the other end of the spectrum.

Donald was part of a disappointing UK brigade that failed to live up to the pre-tournament hype their early season form had warranted. He, along with the number two in the rankings Rory McIlroy, had a Masters to forget.

The Englishman will wonder what more he has to do to ensure he peaks for the majors because he has yet to find a way to make "Donald Golf" capable of challenging for the game's biggest prizes.

McIllroy's policy of taking three weeks off beforehand also looks questionable. Yes it worked last year because he made a flying start to the Masters but he looked rusty when he tried it again for the 2011 Open.

The 22-year-old was firmly in contention at the halfway stage at Augusta but his third round capitulation suggested something was lacking in his preparation and that may have been too little competitive golf in the run-up to the year's first major.

But the home player who intrigues more than any other is Lee Westwood. Yet another top three major finish shows that he can compete as well as anyone but he left the Masters probably more frustrated than any other player taking part.

If he could have putted even reasonably well he would have won the tournament by a street. He finished tied third only two strokes out of the play-off yet there were only three other players who took more putts than the Englishman over the full 72 holes.

"The story of the week is you have got to putt well to win the Masters and I haven't putted well," Westwood said after coming home in 32 for a closing round of 68.

Of course he is correct, but only to an extent. The danger Westwood faces going forward is the fear that only excellent putting can win you a major, thereby loading yet more pressure on the most fallible part of his game.

If he goes down that path, it could finish his chances of ever lifting a major and there is no need for him to think in that way.

Different players have different strengths and his lies in his golf from tee to green. That's where he beats the field and it means that actually pretty ordinary putting can suffice.

At the 2012 Masters he had four three-putts. During the third round he missed from 14 inches on the ninth green and in the final round he missed from two feet at the third.

Eliminating those two errors would have put him in the play-off. That's not turning yourself into the boss of the moss, it's not acquiring a Donald-like touch that is beyond your talent level, it is doing something that is certainly within Westwood's compass.

He hit 58 out of 72 greens in regulation - only Matt Kuchar matched the European Ryder Cup star in this regard. So Westwood has to play to his strengths and accept that a fair proportion of the birdie chances he creates will miss.

Instead of letting himself think that his opponents are all sinking such chances (they aren't) and allowing his confidence to be undermined, he needs to take a different approach.

He has to believe that his strengths are good enough. I suspect that if he can do that, the silly misses that killed him at Augusta would be eliminated.

Certainly his assets are best suited to the US Open and Jay Townsend tipped him on BBC Radio Five live for success at the next major at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.

I agree because, even though the Englishman was the most disappointed figure leaving the Masters, he has to believe that "Westwood Golf" is good enough to win a major. If he does, he can end his wait at the 57th attempt.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Frightening stats. Westwood was majestic from tee to green, but his putting was shocking at times. I'm sure he'll get labelled as a bottler by some posters on here but he is far from that. He knows if he keeps doing what he is doing he will get across the line eventually, even his harshest critics must agree he is 'owed' one now. It'll take one lucky break, a chip-in or a long putt drained, that's all the difference between the winner and the rest so many times, and he just hasn't had it go for him - yet. His driving and ball striking were second to none, and I agree that he should remember that this is his strength, his advantage over the rest while continuing to work on the weakness. His time will come.

    On a positive note, what a final day Augusta delivers year after year. Albatross on the second, two aces, Lefty trying to be the first winner with TWO triples in the tournament and Watson (Lefty Jnr?) with a remarkable, outrageous and downright entertaining version of the game we love. I was rooting for Oosthuizen in the playoff, but after seeing the emotion and the number of players (and fellow band members) waiting to congratulate him my heart softened a little.

    The Open Championship will always be my favourite major, but this one serves up the drama in heaps.

    p.s. Surprised Mr Carter had time to write this, I believe he should be on the range warming up to play the course to the Sunday pins having been pulled out of the ballot for the traditional press day for the first time in ten years. Remember Iain, keep it below the pin. Any chance of a blog giving us a blow-by blow account??

  • Comment number 3.

    Westwood will never win a major, end of story! Can't putt under pressure.

  • Comment number 4.

    #3

    Overly simplistic view of a not-so-simple situation. You don't win so many tournaments, R2D etc etc without being able to putt under pressure. He's putted far better than that under pressure in Majors before. He's not a great putter but he's not terrible, he just had a shocking week with the short stick. He will win one, he's far too good a player not to.

  • Comment number 5.

    Westwood has proved yet again that HE is the best golfer tee to green,IF he had Donald's short game there would have have been at least 3 Majors in the Bag
    LEE will win a Major and hopefully soon, and as soon as he does win his first he may be the player to win ALL 4 consectuviley
    A BOLD statement I admit but get his putter going and HE is the best ball striker in the world and still has a few years left

  • Comment number 6.

    I would also like to say CAN WE PLEASE GET FULL COVERAGE ON THE BEEB

    Thank You (in advance for listening and showing full coverage from 20???????)

  • Comment number 7.

    Westwood is miles better than any other player from tee to green. Even at his prime, I think Tiger Woods would do strike the ball as well as LW. But this week at Augusta his putting was awful, in fact only Fisher, Laird and Simpson played worst on the greens. Mickelson finished on the same score as LW, but he was the best putter all week, if LW can produce a performance even half that good at the US Open he definitely has a good chance of winning.

  • Comment number 8.

    Another one off major champion who has denied a `golfer` the chance of a career moulding major championship . The american`s may love it but it`s a bit freaky . Oouisthuizen must be embarrased today.

  • Comment number 9.

    I totally agree Iain, there doesn't need to be a complete overhaul in Westwood's putting. I personally feel he is the best player in the world at the moment and shouldn't so freely admit to putting problems. Just look what's happened to Sergio, so much emphasis has been laid on his putting that he seems to brush over the majesty of his ball-striking and chipping, and sadly he has let that perceived negativity infiltrate his thought processes and doubt his own mercurial talent. I suspect Craig Williams, the Welshman who witnessed his outrageous putting display in the 1998 British Amateur Final, could see the irony in this.

    Westwood has the skills to win multiple majors, simplify the putting and perhaps the overly mechanic, wooden stroke (Mark Roe take a bow) and the majors will follow suit. As Bubba so strikingly emphasised in his kamikaze shot-making at Augusta, paralysis by analysis is not necessarily the most effective way to don the green jacket.

  • Comment number 10.

    8. What a load of rubbish. How can we possibly know at this stage that Bubba won't win another major? He's already been in two play-offs, led the first of those after one hole and won the second, and it's only the day after. It's far too early to be stating as fact that he's 'another one off major champion' - for that matter, who exactly are you categorising him with? Keegan Bradley, who's only played two and is still in his twenties? Charl Schwartzel, who's had consistent form since his Masters win? Martin Kaymer, who's won numerous tournaments and been world #1? And why should Oosthuizen be embarrassed? Out of everyone I've mentioned he's probably had the least form since he won his major, and yet he put himself in contention again and only lost to an exceptional back nine from another experienced player. Exactly how is that anything to feel ashamed of?

    Please, at least try to show something other than blatant bias against a single player. You cannot possibly hope to maintain a shred of credibility if you refuse to acknowledge how well Bubba played yesterday.

    As for Westwood, he's playing himself back into form and he's still got a good few years left at the top. I'll be amazed if he doesn't win a major, and he's certainly got a better chance than Donald.

  • Comment number 11.

    Its the same old story with Westwood, Donald et al. Westwood puts like a low Handicapper, always has done and always will. As Gary Player said, putting wins competitions, simples. He will be like Monty, great from tee to green, just can't hole enough putts when it counts and will probably end up Majorless. He missed a 6 footer for Eagle yesterday, I think it was on the 15th. Not good enough I'm afraid - Mickleson, Woods (of old) etc would have buried that.

    Woods in his prime was the best clutch putter out there which compensated for his errant driving. Result - 14 Majors.

    As for Donald, I don't think there has been a world no 1 with a weaker record in the big ones. All the hype before hand and then nothing happens just like the USPGA and Open last year.

    Harrington for me looks the likliest to win again soon from a Euro POV. Missed a couple of short ones yesterday which would have bought him into contention - the hard work looks to be paying off and I think he could do well at the USO if he can regain his putting form.

    Worst comment of the week from Garcia - looks like I will be playing for Second in Majors. Get a grip man, you are only 32. Putts as badly as Westy does but with that attitude, he won't ever win anything big.

    Congrats to Bubba, the swing maybe a bit ropey but he showed bottle to get that run of birdies along with his iron in on the 10th and deserved it in the end. Can't see him doing much else on the tight Fairways of the US/USPGA or in the wind over here but Augusta looks to suit his game and he may add to his Green Jackets in years to come.

  • Comment number 12.

    @9 and 10 Well said
    Who is Allan in the first place to critisce ,probably another French man Thinking about Lawrie !!!!

  • Comment number 13.

    Jimmy don't forget Double Points !!!!

  • Comment number 14.

    I firmly believe a 'Brit' will win a Major this year and desperately hope it's Lee. He's clearly one of the best players on the Tour currently and if it wasn't for the average putting, he'd seemingly win almost everything.

    One point, though: The Masters has once again emphasized what pot luck it can be, when it comes to winning a Major.

    In the past 5 seasons, the likes of Lucas Glover, Charl Schwartzel, Yang Yong-Eun, Zach Johnson and Keegan Bradley have all won a Major, while, for example Westwood, Donald, Rose, Stricker, and Jimenez have failed.

    You can consistently be one of the best in the world and win tournaments in many different places, but you do occasionally need that bit of luck to capture a Major.

    Unless you're a true golf geek, would you have been able to remember who won last year's Masters? All the talk was about Mclroy's implosion, not Schwartzel's triumph.

    I'm not suggesting that any Major winner doesn't deserve it, but it's not the be-all and end-all.

  • Comment number 15.

    #11

    I disagree that LW will end up majorless. He is very nearly there with his game as a whole, he doesn't need to putt like Mickelson or Woods, because his long game is of such a high calibre that there is often no need for him to scramble his way round the course. All he needs are four rounds of golf where he can hit 30 putts and avoid missing any tiddlers, and he will win at a major.

  • Comment number 16.

    I am not french . I am a golfer who can see that this guy who resembles happy gilmore will shrink in the crosswinds of our open courses and the tight merciless conditions of us open and uspga courses. Augusta suits him because if your`e wild and unorthodox you are still in with a chance because of the space. On a proper golf course he would be home on a Saturday.

  • Comment number 17.

    Iain, is there any chance you could do the post round interviews on T.V. in the future?
    I know you're a radio man but a safe pair of hands is required after the Vaughan fiasco!

  • Comment number 18.

    I agree Westwood hit the ball magnificently, but I'm not sure he ever relaxes enough over the putts or the tricky short shots - it seems like he doesn't quite believe he's gonna do it, and then he doesn't!! Until he gets that belief, even for 4 rounds at a time, he is not going to win a major. There are too many good players and one of them will always do something special, so steady as you like is not going to win.
    As for garcia, that was the most depressing interview I have ever seen. he needs a trip to bob Rotella straight away. If he feels that bad being one shot off the lead at the halfway stage, he has lost touch with reality. His game apart from the putting is as good if not better than anybody. if he sorts his putting he would be winning multiple tournaments every year. I think the losses to Harrington have done major damage and he needs mental help to get back on track .
    well done bubba - amazing show - the masters is the perfect platform being long and wide, so he can win more there.
    what happened to Rory? again in good positin after 2 rounds, hopefully he'll be back atthe uS Open!

  • Comment number 19.

    I played at Worksop for years (Lee's club) and there wasn't an easy green on the course. In dry weather they could be almost impossible with the speed and slopes , I'd be trying not to three putt most of the time and I'd finish with a headache,just wondered if this could develop a tentative, defensive stroke?

  • Comment number 20.

    Wasn't it Souuth Africa's Bobby Locke, a man who has a few Open Championships to his name, who coined the phrase 'Drive for show, put for dough'?
    Contrary to what Iain says here, I think week shows that Lee Westwood can't win a Major simply by hitting Fairways and Greens and relying on 'constistency.' When will people realise that missing a putt from 3 feet is exactly the same as a miss-hit drive or a duffed approach shot? They all cost a stroke! You can't just paper over a glaring deficiency in his game, putting is the aspect of the game which gets put under more pressure and scruitiny than any other!
    Put is this way- Several players have graced the game who have been able to rescue holes after wayward drives/long iron shots thanks to an imaginative short game and a deecnt putting stroke- Seve, Phil Mickelson, Tom Watson, the pre-2008 version of Tiger Woods of course, and to that list we can now add Bubba Watson. But once you've missed a putt, you've missed it! It's not like you get extra points because you your seven iron to within 5 feet earlier in the piece! Therefore, the last thing Lee needs to do is take Iain's advice and ignore the problem. Far better for him to have Booby Locke's maxim posted all around his house until it gets into his head!

    That said, I don't think that the Masters is the Major which suits Lee's game best- it's the one which least punishes errant driving, theerfore neutering Lee's strong suit, whilst emphasising short game and putting- elements which Lee struggles with. If he's going to win one, I'd suggest it'll be a US Open. The insane way the USGA sets the courses up these days mean here are ceratin types of player who simply will never contend in them eitehr due to lack of length (Stricker), inaccuracy (possibly Bubba in this category) or both (step foward, Luke Donald). The greens are set up so quick and undulating that even the best putters can be made to look mugs on them, so Lee's as likely to miss from 6 feet as anyone on them! An earlier poster made the comparisson with Monty- another GIR merchant who had rank-and-file tour titles coming out his ears but no Major. It's worth noting that the closest Monty ever came to a Major was in the US Open- two playoff defeats, and a 72nd hole choke in 2006 at Winged Foot when it was his for the taking. Perhaps Lee may go oen betetr at Olympic. hope so, becasue it will stop all the 'he deserves one' brigade. Lee Westwood will deserve a Major when he wins one, and not a moment before that.

  • Comment number 21.

    Iain, when you get to eighteen later today just hit those two putts the guys had in the play-off and tell us how on earth Oosterhuizen's putt missed on the high side - everything previous missed low including Bubba from closer although not quite on the same line.

  • Comment number 22.

    Perpetual Sigh, I totally agree with your sentiment. I too do not understand the slight shown agains Bubba by the commenetator.

    I must admit, I have seen Bubba's name pop up on leader boards in the PGA but never bothered to pay attention to him. But yesterday, from the 10 hole and on, I could not taking my eyes of him. His bubble-gum-colored clubs helped that.

    Yesterday, Bubba was in the zone. He was in a state of mind that Tiger was not in. He was decisive, quick and sharp in his decision making. He looked relaxed. His lanky body moved with easy as he tore the par fives in two shots going to the green. And he was fearless. All those attributes combined made him unbeatable. He got in to a rhythm and he carried on. Oosthiezen on the other hand lost his composure on the 18th hole. He was tense and tentative in the playoff. He seemed overwhelmed by the magnitude of what was to unfold. He simply did not look ready to win the Masters.

    He had a good look at Bubba's shot in the first sudden-death hole that veered to the woods. That did not put him at ease. Instead he shot his close to the rough and still ended up in a better position than Bubba. But then Bubba made the miracle shot that gave him two-put advantage, that ended the tournament.

    I expect Bubba to win a few PGA events here and there. I dont think he will score grand slam. But he will win more. He might win a major or two more before he retires. PGA and US open suit him well. I dont he will win St. Andrews. He is talented, strong and decisive. And he looks carefree when he plays. And that will be a cause for his wins and losses in the futre.

  • Comment number 23.

    Remember that it was Tiger who set the benchmark for all if not most modern players. He`ll be back and show us the control once again. Blubba will never see a major again

  • Comment number 24.

    @22 OilBurns
    Don't you think it was a mistake by Louis to take a 3 wood off the tee after he had sen Bubba blast one into the trees and not knowing what type of lie he had,his consistencey was with the driver so why risk a 3 wood when he had been hitting nearly 300 yards straight down the middle.
    If it had been Tiger or Phil would they have changed club ?

  • Comment number 25.

    Couple of quick points:

    1. Bubba Watson has already made a play-off in the USPGA (2010). He's no fluke major winner and neither does he need a course like Augusta in order to perform.

    2. Lee Westwood is not a 'bottler' - that's ignorant and pernicious nonsense. His putting (indeed his short game generally) doesn't collapse under pressure, it's pretty weak most of the time (for a top pro).

  • Comment number 26.

    Play off`s don`t count ,. ask Monty. Pure golf always rises to the top eventually . Our game is unpredictable , now and again a side show appears John Daly, Boo Weekly ?,Todd Hamilton ????.

  • Comment number 27.

    Perhaps there is another way to look at westys putting, he does miss more than his fair share of short ones.Perhaps if he was not as good tee to green his putting would not be in the spotlight so much. Due to hitting so many greens in reg he has more long putts than players that miss the green then chip it close and single putt.I hope he finds what he feels he needs soon new coach new putter whatever it takes to give him that extra bit of confidence.

  • Comment number 28.

    Great Masters once again. Was amazed Bubba managed to play with such composure especially in the back nine when the pressure was greatest. He freely admits that he is weak mentally and gets far too excited down the strech so fair play to him for a great back nine in particular.

    However Westwood should have won by five or six shots. His putting was really very poor. The three putts on 18 on day 2 on 9 or sat and the 3rd yesterday were embarrassing. In spite of this though his stroke looks really very good. To my mind its purely between the ears. If you think your going to miss you will. The body always follows the mind. If he can change his way of thinking he will win all the time and a few majors.

    I fear a little for Donald, his lack of length puts huge pressure on the rest of his game when the margin for error is tiny at the long tough major courses. He will need a great week to win a major in my opinion.

    Really good playing from Poulter Hanson and Paddy

  • Comment number 29.

    Allan (referring to Tiger Woods):

    "He`ll be back and show us the control once again."

    What control would this be, pray tell?

    The 'control' of hi emtions? Like when he lashed out and kicked his own club on day 2? (I think, he has that many tantrums on course that they all blur into one for me!)

    The 'control' of his ball flight? Like seemingly every driving hole after the first day where he looked to play a high fade and ended up double-crossing and pull-hooking 50 yards off line?

    The 'control' of his distance? Like when approach shots from he middle of the fairway where sailing thru the back of the green?

    Of course, TW may get his control back. But it's no garauntee. Indeed, it's as every bit as wrong to suggest TW getting 'control' is a certainty as it to suggest that Bubba won't add any more Majors to his collection is a certainty.

    As it happens, I do think Tiger Woods has another Major in him. Not the four he'd need to draw level with The Greatest Ever, but I think he may yet get another Masters or two as he knows the course so well. But to bring up another point you've made, if Woods does get another Major, it will be in exactly the same manner as Watson won his this last week- playing his own game, within his own limitations (I think we can now acknowledge that TW DOES have limitaations, can't we), and catchinh lightning in a bottle at the right time and eveerything going his way. He won't win one just by turning up and playing as in the past.

  • Comment number 30.

    I must strongly disagree with the premise that a poor putter is going to win tournaments so long as he has a rock solid tee to green game.. Lee is too controlled in his game ...he is a down to earth player who has done wonders in 'manufacturing ' a highly effective game... but watch pro golfers putt... the great putters have a 'FEEL' for the roll of the ball....Crenshaw, Mickleson, etc....this CANNOT be taught, it is instinctive.

    However that does not mean Lee cannot win a major, just NEVER the Masters , which is so, so reliant on putting. You only have to see what Phil acheived on day 3 with a poor tee to green game in places, to know that..he had 21 putts less than Lee

    Lee should accept his achilles heel and celebrate winning one or more of the other three, most likely The Open, which relies heavily on tee to green, usually in awful conditions which suits Lee's game......

    ....and as for Rory ?????....only us old men are dedicated to golf when theres fun to be had !!! and who'd blame him... hes not the dedicated sort...thankfully tho, he too has natural talent, like Bubba, Seve and Phil......Sergio is very Spanish thankfully and also has a life outside golf ....journalists often impose their dreams on these youngsters, like doting parents who push their kids too hard because they were failures in sport themselves..........

    Good article

  • Comment number 31.

    As disappointed as I am for Westwood it still amazes me that comments can still carry such derision or certainty that he will not win a major.
    Equally this negativity is usually attached to comparisons to Monty's record. However, did not most fans wish him a Major (or two) in his prime? If not shame on you.
    Similarly, any real golf fan (at least the English ones) should be wishing Westwood a fitting addition to an excellent career in a Major win - soon.
    That said - well done Bubba. Thoroughly deserved!

  • Comment number 32.

    Westwood has a poor short game for a top pro, particularly a weak putting stroke. He could take a leaf from McIllroy's book - he got putting lessons and has a much improved stroke as a result. Spending more time on short game practice and less time on social media sites might help him too.

  • Comment number 33.

    IF one of the golfers took fewer strokes than all the others, THEN he would win. What a useless analysis.

  • Comment number 34.

    It's not curious at all, and it has nothing to do with his putting, iron play or driving. It should be a well-known fact by now that all British athletes lack any semblance of a "clutch" gene. Think Oosthuizen yesterday nervelessly putting his way out of trouble, then think the opposite of that, and that's your average British mentality.

  • Comment number 35.

    Comment (Ross1980).Tiger will be back that is not just my opinion. It never ceases to amaze me that people forget how mundane golf was before he came along. He has transformed golf and golf preparation mentality worldwide .Get off his back he was only frustrated that he is not performing ot the level he knows he can . I agree that that he will prob not get to 18,but may get another two at least.

  • Comment number 36.

    I watched the Masters unfold last night and was deligthed to see Bubba triumph. He has a swing like a lot of weekend golfers but great hand-eye co-ordination sees him through. I dont agree with some of the posts who said that his win is a fluke or he'll not win another major-what set him apart was the four birdies in a row on the back nine and his ability to keep himself together even though he was visibly shaking at times during the play-off. As for Lee Westwood, I think one fact has been overlooked-worse than his average, mechanical putting is his very average chipping and pitching. If he can sort this out, which at his age is doubtful, he could win a major. However, while Augusta is one of the more open major venues, it places more of an emphasis on the short game than other venues and the eventual winner, year after year, is usually the person who makes the putts, and chips well, on the back 9 especially.

  • Comment number 37.

    Sky (sorry Beeb) showed a good analysis of Lee's putting yesterday which highlighted the difference between his practice stroke and the actual execution. Whilst the practice one was smooth and positive, when it came to actually striking the ball it looked staccato and uncertain. That suggests there is as much a mental issue with that part of his game as there is any problem with his technique. If he can overcome that mental barrier to become an average putter then I firmly believe he can still go on to win a major, albeit at nearly 40, the clock is starting to count down.

    But, for me, the bigger issue is the form of Luke Donald in majors. Just as you know with a fair amount of certainty that England will lose in a penalty shoot out, you know, you just know, that Luke's performance in any major will be accompanied by the word disappointment. For a world number one to be so consistently out performed on the biggest stages makes me far less confident of him ever adding to England's roll of major winners.

  • Comment number 38.

    This Masters was, as usual, a great event and a wonderful spectacle. Congratulations to Bubba Watson on a super win built on talent, raw nerve and great feel. I was hoping on Sunday that either Harrington or Oosthuizen would win but was happy to see Bubba lift the trophy. There is a good chance he will lift more as he showed that he can play his game on a difficult course.

    What was also intriguing was seeing those players who were being touted as only having to turn up to win all falling short, showing that this game is a great leveller.

    No doubt those people who predicted on this blog last week that:
    a) McIlroy would miss the cut
    b) Woods would romp home ('cos he's back)
    c) Mickleson would win with ease
    will all be coming on shortly to apologise and eat a massive slice of humble pie.

    I know Phil came close in the end but his disastrous triple bogey had already cost him the event. Even if he'd declared his ball unplayable and gone back to the tee he could have escaped with a 5 so I've no idea what he thought he was doing trying back handed hacks from the jungle.
    Tiger also made a great job of showing that his recent 'smiley face' is just another con from him and he reverted to club kicking & throwing and much use of expletives.

    Good too to see Poulter having a return to form. Maybe Westwood should play a few more rounds with him and see what PASSION can do to a golf game because that's what seems to be missing. Hopefully though he still has at least 6 years to get that elusive first major.

  • Comment number 39.

    It takes 4 good rounds to win tourneys. Lee usually plays and putts well the first two rounds, then typically he plays even in the third round and loses ground in the process. This years Masters was exactly that. He lost it by playing even in the third round while everyone else moved up the leader board. I agree with many he does not putt well when a major is on the line. Lee's problem currently is between his ears.

  • Comment number 40.

    So often with these majors it all builds up for there to be a fine winner. Perhaps it could have been Mickelson, or Oosthuizen but no we got Mr Bubba Watson, an interesting character, perhaps the American version of Ian Poulter only a better player. I'm not sure I can get to liking Bubba Watson for the way he behaves sometimes, but he held it together. As for Westwood he continues to come across as moody and negative in his interviews - can't hole hole crucial putts and that has always been what wins majors. The older a player get the more they lose their nerve, Harrington and Mickelson both missed so many putts in the final round. The younger players tend to hold their nerve. Expect Westwood to end up like Garica, believing he can only compete for 2nd and 3rd. The Garica/Monty/Westwood club it shall be named.

  • Comment number 41.

    Iain, great article. I think lee deserves praise rather than the hard time he sometimes gets. The stats don't always tell the true story either, someone who hits a lot of greens is naturally going to take mor putts as they will be generally further from the hole than the player who is scrambling. The most important stat is the total length of putts made. I bet lee was much higher vs the field on this one. who would you rather be, h player who keeps hitting the green, giving yourself birdie chances or the player that is continually relying on short game for par?

    Go lee!

  • Comment number 42.

    #40 As for Westwood he continues to come across as moody and negative in his interviews...
    As you're name suggests you must have watched BBC coverage and Westwood changed his demeanor from his Sky interviews where he was very honest and humble... or were you looking for something that wasn't there?
    And, BBCFan, please explain your problem with Bubba over the 'fine' Phil and Louis!

  • Comment number 43.

    Perhaps it was the rubbish questions coming from the BBC interviewer which Mr Westwood was not very interested in answering. As for Mr Watson, I cannot take him seriously just like Ricky Fowler and Hunter Mahan especially after this silly music video: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/golf/14173083 All good fun I am sure. Plus he was quite disrespectful when playing in the French Open last year. I suppose i'll just have to get used to him and his ridiculous pink driver.

  • Comment number 44.

    #43 That 'ridiculous pink driver' plus his all white outfit with pink logos is in aid of the children's hospital charity which he supports. It takes a big man to go out and play with kit like that and it just shows he is committed to their support. Go Bubba!

  • Comment number 45.

    I like Bubba, I just think he's great fun. I'm a signed up fan. Having said that i have had doubts about how such an unorthodox swing could stand up over pressure for 4 rounds but for the lost part he was smashing those drives long and straights and controlling the ball exceptionally well.

    As for Oosthuizen, he's a guy who has only twice won as a professional outside of his native SA. But he has a beautiful looking swing, hits the ball really long, and looks to have a great temperament, I think it might be time that he really pushed on possibly.

    And as for Lee Westwood, with every chance that goes a begging you fear he may have just missed his last chance for a major. As Iain says he doesnt need to be the best putter in the world, just decent, sadly at the moment he cant even manage that. Perhaps a belly putter would help on those cheeky little puts that he occasionally misses.

  • Comment number 46.

    Now for your weekly prediction league update.

    Double points were awarded, so points allocation goes something like this

    Bubba Watson - 20 pts
    Louis Oosthuizen - 10 pt
    Lee Westwood, Phil Mickleson, Peter Hanson, and Matt Kuchar - 6 pts

    Congratulations to Myself and BiloMct for picking Bubba. A number of people had Mickleson and a couple had Westwood, so this weeks scorers look like this.


    Jimmy-20
    BiloMct-20
    Powerhitter-6
    8 for 6 for 1-6
    Sumo82-6
    Cfcboy23- 6
    Maninasuitcase- 6
    Mattefc-6
    BMG- 6
    Yorkshire Blogster-6
    Grover69-6

  • Comment number 47.

    Not so much Lee bashing please. I never thought he's likely to win The Masters but he's got ten years to win a major and he's playing better all the time so don't bet against it. I live in the same town as him and I can assure you that he's regarded as a local treasure who's fame and achievements have not changed him one iota. He's not moved because his family and mates are here.
    In any case Majors are generally won by alien golfers of superhuman powers or guys who get lucky for four days in their life.

  • Comment number 48.

    Overall scores are now :-


    Powerhitter 73
    Daveyboyfletcher 68
    Jimmy 60
    The Sorcerer 60
    8 for 6 for 1 55
    BiloMct 54
    Gbell 42
    Rossji 40
    Sumo82 39
    Lord Voldemort 39
    Cfcboy23 37
    Maninasuitcase 36
    Mattefc 36
    Undersiege 33
    BMG 29
    Yorkshire Blogster 24
    Diamondvneck 24
    Grover69 21
    OldManGriff 20
    Mickysausage 15
    Stinky Steve 13
    Welsh Wizard 5 10
    Superhans84 10
    Wibbliouswobblious 10
    Chumbawumba12 8
    DivotedGolfer 5
    Jedimaster 3
    Anglesdan 3
    Lovegolf 3
    Rich 3
    Jeff Kenna 0
    Golfnut99 0
    Wombat7-0 0
    Golfrants 0
    NIreland1-0England 0

    One US and one Euro event this week. Predictions in by midnight Wednesday.

  • Comment number 49.

    "Grip it and rip it".

    The exact opposite to "paralysis by analysis", which is Donald's problem.

    Westwood is carrying around too much baggage. Everyone's always on his back about why he's never won a major. It gets to you after a while.

  • Comment number 50.

    Regarding Lee Westwood and interviews I think it is fair to say that he is not particularly comfortable in front of the microphone. Some people are relaxed in front of the camera and others like Lee are not.

    However if you ever have the chance to go to one of his clinics you will get a more representative view of him. I had the pleasure of being there when he dropped in at Silvermere to conduct a free clinic and play 4 holes with the club pros. He was very amusing and chatted happily with the fans as he played the holes hitting some amazing shots in the process.

  • Comment number 51.

    Bubba-licious !!!

    Well done to him. He (and Ousthuizen) gave us a back nine to remember. LO was stady and looked like he may make it over the line. BW was a bit awry but his vision and shot-maling was excellent.

    A good showing from the European tour, bodes well for September !

    LW and LD stil have lots of chances to win Majors. I suspect they will in the not too distant future. Both their short games were not quite up to the standard requiried this week.

    I daresay RMc and SG would be glad not to be paired together in a round. SG's negative vibes bringing the wunderkid down ;-)

    and remember never change your picks. I thought Augusta wouldn't suit BW due to his shot shaping so I went for 2nd choice Quiros. Doh !

  • Comment number 52.

    #26

    Daly won 2 majors - which is the same amount as Greg Norman. He is eccentric and different but I wouldn't call him a side show. He had the talent but ultimately too many demons got in the way of properly realising it on a consistent basis.

  • Comment number 53.

    All these statistics are no doubt important. But let's not forget the part that lady luck plays in all this.

    A world class professional can painstakingly analyse a two or three foot putt and miss it. While an amateur TV celebrity (playing off 20) holes a nigh on impossible 30 yarder without even trying to read the green.....

    Same with football. Look at the percentage of goals scored by a deflection. But the 'scorer' still celebrates as if he's just scored a 'wonder goal' When in reality his shot was heading for the corner flag but happened to hit a defender on the backside and flies into the net....


    What will be will be !

  • Comment number 54.

    I dont want to be rude or anything, but this is all a bit predictable. Lee comes close, followed by the inevitable "will he ever win a major" blog. I dont think Lee will win one until people stop obssessing about it. You just know that he will win one when people have lost that hope. He will pop up out of the blue and win one just like Darren Clarke popping up out of nowhere to win the Open. People like these win when you least expect it.

    Which is why I want these horribly predictable blogs to stop.

  • Comment number 55.

    Completely agree with the premise, that Lee Westwood has to believe that "Westwood Golf" is good enough to win a major, and he has to stop playing himself out of majors half way through leaving himself too much to do. Another failing is that he doesn't consolidate when he does something good. Far too often when he aces a hole he tries to do it again straight after instead of making sure he doesn't lose the ground he just gained. This suggests that he is letting his emotions rule his golf, when he should be distancing himself from any feelings he has about his shotmaking.
    Westwood does seem to suffer from the English disease though, self-deprecating and never filled with enough confidence to see it through to the end. He is always waiting for some invisible demon to appear and screw things up for him.
    However when all is said and done I DO believe that luck often has a much bigger role to play than we think, I mean look at the luck Bubba Watson got served up yesterday!

  • Comment number 56.

    "Regarding Lee Westwood and interviews I think it is fair to say that he is not particularly comfortable in front of the microphone. Some people are relaxed in front of the camera and others like Lee are not. "

    And thats a pretty ridiculous comment. Lee seems a natural to me when being interviewed. Always honest, always to the point, usually with a wry smile on his face, and always pretty relaxed. I dont know how you can say he is not comfortable in front of a camera. How many players do you know who can come close so many times and then laugh about it (on camera), right after he's come off the course. It's hyper critical to say he is'nt comfortable in front of the camera.

  • Comment number 57.

    WESTWOOD DID WHAT WESTWOOD DOES BEST....CHOKE.

    Its such a sad sight to see a player as good as Lee play so well right up to the point where he sees his name on top of the leaderboard and then he falls apart.

    This was another typical Westwood major...play great and get into contention...choke until you no longer have a chance to win the major and the pressure is off....and then make a great finish to the event to finish top 5 again.

    And finally then blame it on the putter when in fact for 35 holes his putter was fantastic...and he only started to putt badly when he was leading.

    The modern day Monty will end up just like Monty....majorless.

    and Im afraid our Luke Donald is the exact same! Choke city.

  • Comment number 58.

    I was disappointed with Padraig Harrington. He was second favourite at one point on the Sunday, and he made more birdie chances than anyone, with some majestic iron play. His putting let him down for once though, or I'm convinced he would have surged to win it!

  • Comment number 59.

    #34

    "It should be a well-known fact by now that all British athletes lack any semblance of a "clutch" gene. Think Oosthuizen yesterday nervelessly putting his way out of trouble, then think the opposite of that, and that's your average British mentality."

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    So Nick Faldo wasn't a 'clutch putter' then? I think you'll find that in his pomp he hardly ever missed from 12ft. Remember the Open win when he was one of the only players to play to Par in the final round? At his best, he was one of the best putters around.

    If you are going to make comments like this, best get your facts right old son.

    As for Westwood, he's not a poor putter - he's just not an exceptional one. It's the only chink in his armour but it's a big chink. But he can definitely still win a major.

  • Comment number 60.

    Looks like my predictions all came true......................

  • Comment number 61.

    The stats here are too simplistic. Anyone who hits the most greens in regulation is likely to take the most putts, simply because the rest of the field are taking short approach shot which often get just as close as the first putt. It may be true that Westwood putts badly, but what we need to see is an analysis of the length of putts missed compared to other players.

  • Comment number 62.

    Westwood has some great potential and he shouldn't be underestimated. I think his chaces of winning a major now are actually pretty good.
    New Hampshire Vacation

  • Comment number 63.

    35.
    At 19:54 9th Apr 2012, Allan wrote:

    Comment (Ross1980).Tiger will be back that is not just my opinion. It never ceases to amaze me that people forget how mundane golf was before he came along. He has transformed golf and golf preparation mentality worldwide .Get off his back he was only frustrated that he is not performing ot the level he knows he can . I agree that that he will prob not get to 18,but may get another two at least.

    Mundane? You are obviously not old enough to have heard of Arnold Palmer and Lee Trevino. Without AP there would not have been enough money in golf to attract Woods. As Trevino once said, "Every present day pro should donate 10% of his earnings to Palmer for what he did to popularise the game."

  • Comment number 64.

    Excellent blog Iain - Intelligent, studied article backed up by stats.

    I was frustrated by Lee (my little syndicate had money on him), but it's not time to hit the panic button and take weeks out on putting practice/coaching. A little tweak here and there and he'll be right there. His tee-to-green play was just majestic.

    But well done Bubba - that shot on the 10th in the play-off was fantastic!

  • Comment number 65.

    Lets all knock Lee but what happened to the to horse race? At least Lee was at the races. Bubba great win for golf and individual styles. The guy deserved his win 4 birdies on the back 9 to get into contention and the emotion afterwards proof of what a genuine guy he is. He was so worked up he nearly put the jacket on inside out. There will be those that will say he will only win one major blah blah and all that but at the moment in golf that seems to be the way. No one player is the dominant force anymore which leaves the door open for players like Bubba to walk through.

  • Comment number 66.

    Absolutely correct Iain. With a bit more luck (and you need it at Augusta) Westwood would have won in a canter. He's a streaky putter. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. His golf is better than anyone's most of the time. That's what he should take away from this major. When you next talk to him, please, please tell him not to go to the long putter. He will win a major!

  • Comment number 67.

    Surely The Masters is the Major that Westwood is LEAST likely to win. Because it's glassy greens exaggerate any weakness in putting and chipping. Westwood knows that's the flaw in his game. That's why he's had Mark Roe working on his chipping.

    For someone who's so accurate from tee to green, I'd suggest the traditionally narrow fairways of the US Open would give Westwood his best chance of a Major.

  • Comment number 68.

    I think Lee can improve his putting by keeping his head down, especially on short putts. Just compare his head movement to the better putters on Tour such as Luke and Tiger. Others have commented that Lee doesn't need to be as good as the best in putting, just a bit closer to average. It would also help his putting stats if he could be an average chipper. I haven't seen the stats on this but it can only help your putting if you can hit your chips from off the gree closer to the pin.

  • Comment number 69.

    WOW what a fantastic tounament as usual from Augusta
    The course always produces drama on day 4

    To me I was hugely impressed with Westwood's performance
    The putting issue has become so hyped up however

    Putting is results driven
    Most are happy with a poorly struck put that goes in but cross with a perfectly executed stroke which doesn't
    You have got to decide on the speed and line then hit it
    As soon as it leaves the putter the fates take over to a degree
    Once you start worrying too much about the result it affects your stroke and you get defensive
    Putts short of pace don't drop

    This I believe is Westwood's problem
    He now believes he can't do it
    Third from last at putting is never going to leave him at the top of leaderboards

    I reckon I could sort him out over a beer

  • Comment number 70.

    For all Mickelson backers out there (of which i was one of them) i take full responsibility.

    I turned on for the first time to watch a crowd of people trying to find his ball at the 10th. Mocked by my friends we went out and though nothing of it, kept up to date with live updates but no coverage till i finally turned on to see some right handed Mickelson look-a-like try hacking the ball out of a bush....

  • Comment number 71.

    And another thing

    All this LW bashing is disgraceful
    He is the best we have so give him a break
    Huge talent and a decent bloke

    On this blog it is clearly coming from the thicker element
    You know who you are
    You "support" the England football team by elevating them to Gods when they beat Moldova but berate them as incompetent after a close defeat

    And you read the Daily Mail probably

  • Comment number 72.

    The putting stat that really matters is the success rate from 10 feet and less. LW gives himself so many chances at birdies it probably adds to his furstration when he doesn't convert as many as he thinks he should. He's not a poor putter - you cant get to No 1 in the world without a good putting stroke. He's not worked with Mark Roe for some time - his putting coach is Phil Kenyan - who's done some pretty good work with paddy and many others. A more confident attitude on the greens will see Lee, deservedly, win his first major - and it probably wont be his last

  • Comment number 73.

    Let me say from the outset that I'm a fan of Lee Westwood, however I'm fed up with all this nonsense that he "would've won at a canter" " he's too good a player not to win a major" etc etc....
    Get a grip people! The record books are full of golfers who were too good not to win majors. The fact is there are only four of them each year, and the great thing about golf is that sometimes an unexpected winner emerges. Bubba winning on Sunday does not, as some have suggested, demean golf, rather it proves what a GREAT game it is.
    HOW SO? Well if you strip it all down to the fundamental rule of, play the course as you find it and the ball as it lies... that translates in its simplest terms to:hit it, find it, hit it again..... Repeat the dose until its in the hole, and start again, add em all up at the end and you've got a winner. Golf tournaments aren't, and never were,meant to be won by the best play from tee to green. The cups and jackets are only handed out to the guy who takes fewest to get it in the hole. Bubba might never win another Major, but to all those out there who knock him because on Sunday he did it differently, give the guy a break! He won with a style of golf that we'd secretly ALL like to be able to play, its just that we never get that far in our dreams!

  • Comment number 74.

    The mistake for Westwood I think would be to over-analyse this Masters performance.

    For two rounds, I thought he putted okay. In the two other rounds, obviously he struggled to make anything. Had he been fractionally better/more lucky, he'd probably have won. Augusta though seems to be a place though where you have to accept that the majority of your birdie opportunities will come to nil, the greens being as they are... and maybe that's an extra psychological drain when you create as many opportunities as Westwood does.

    Hopefully with time he will be able to take the positives, that if he plays tee-to-green like he did this year again next, he'll probably make a handful more birdies and it is likely to be good enough to win him a green jacket.

  • Comment number 75.

    Iain Carter | 15:05 UK time, Monday, 9 April 2012

    "Certainly his assets are best suited to the US Open and Jay Townsend tipped him on BBC Radio Five live for success at the next major at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.

    I agree because, even though the Englishman was the most disappointed figure leaving the Masters, he has to believe that "Westwood Golf" is good enough to win a major. If he does, he can end his wait at the 57th attempt."


    Iain what you lot predict matters not a jot as you are only saying the things people want to hear.


    "Donald well placed to end era of unpredictability

    Iain Carter | 17:47 UK time, Monday, 2 April 2012

    Donald was guilty of impatience at last year's US Open and at the Open at Sandwich, where he missed the cut. It's hard to believe he has not learned important lessons from those failures.

    To some it might come as a shock if Donald claims his first major this week, but I'm in the camp who won't be surprised if the world number one shoulders his own burden of expectation to end golf's current era of unpredictability."


    "Masters 2012: Golf's pundits give their Augusta predictions

    Scott Michaux, Augusta Chronicle

    Winner: Luke Donald.

    He is going to surprise the favourites and remain world number one. People overlook him because he does not hit as long as a traditional winner. But he is the best iron player and has the best short game of anyone in this field.

    Peter Dixon, the Times

    Winner: Luke Donald.

    In the form of his life. The best short game player in the world, putting is fantastic and chipping and bunker play is second to none. One thing that will work against him will be distance off the tee if we get much more rain. But he'll know if he gets there or thereabouts on most greens then he's in with a shout.

    Big week: Justin Rose.

    In strong form, is very confident, feels comfortable now wherever he plays and is a good each-way bet.

    Tim Rosaforte, Golf Channel

    Winner: Rory McIlroy.

    Last week on TV I said McIlroy when I was pushed 10 seconds before we went to a commercial break and then a week later I was asked again. I wasn't going to do a Mitt Romney and start flipping so I'm sticking with him. I like the story, I'd like to see him come back and right the wrong, from a playing standpoint, of last year. Plus [I like] the way he handled it and what a gentleman he is.

    Big week: Luke Donald.

    It's almost like he's become an outsider because he hasn't won a major. He's getting hardly any credit right now, people are overlooking him, but he came fourth last year and could outwedge everybody this week. He's a resourceful little chap.

    Neil McLeman, Daily Mirror

    Winner: Rory McIlroy.

    For sentimental value. I'd love to see him do it after last year. He's in very relaxed mood, in good form and is certainly the best story.

    Paul Mahoney, Sports Illustrated's Golf.com

    Winner: Luke Donald.

    Under the radar, which he likes. Everyone is talking about a two-horse race and he's always been the guy everyone forgets - the invisible world number one. It's all about short game with him and he's absolutely sensational with his irons and putter, and that's what you need around Augusta.

    Paul Hayward, Daily Telegraph

    Winner: Luke Donald.

    When people say it's a two-horse race, I'm inclined to look elsewhere out of sheer perversity. If I had to have a bet I'd look at Donald at about 16-1. I think he is going to win a major, he's in good nick and this might be his opportunity to upset the front two.

    Iain Carter, BBC Radio 5 live

    Winner: Luke Donald.

    Ticks all the boxes with the strengths of his game, accurate approach play and peerless short game.

    James Corrigan, Independent

    Big week: Justin Rose.

    Has won World Golf Championships now and the next step is to really compete in majors. Has competed down the stretch here before and can learn from that, so could go very close.

    David Facey, the Sun

    Winner: Luke Donald.

    Is ready to break out and win his first major. Was really impressive in the way he won at Disney when he had to to clinch the US money title - that's a sign he can really handle pressure. People forget he was level with Tiger Woods last year and he has had three top 10s now so this can be his year.

    Rob Hodgetts, BBC Sport online

    Winner: Luke Donald.

    Supremely confident in his own abilities and fiercely motivated beneath the quiet exterior. Has become a proven winner - and more importantly has won when things such as US money list or world number one status were on the line. Lack of length not an issue. Irons and short game too good.

    Big week: Ian Poulter.

    Someone will emerge from the pack that no-one is talking about and when he's got that Ryder Cup fire going I like the cut of his jib. Plus, he told me last week his game and brain are coming together nicely."


    .

  • Comment number 76.

    Good blog Iain.

    I remember calling Lee "3 Putt" Westwood after Torrey Pines in 2008 and Turnberry 2009. I just wish sometimes Lee would be a tad more aggressive around the greens. His putts have perfect speed and normally end up within 1-2ft of the hole. I agree with a point Butch Harmon made and that most golfers don't play through instinct/heart. I am sure at times Lee has been on the green and had a gut instinct about the line of a putt, and instead has gone safe to avoid a bogey. I really do hope Lee wins a Major,

  • Comment number 77.

    Lee Westwood will NOT win a Major Golf Tournament. I stated this in a comment in 2008 and if anything I am even more certain of this now. It is the singer not the song - ie it is the man and not his golf game - Westwood's problems are in his mind coupled with his emotions. His golf game is generally excellent, and there are myriad players who have won without putting well and many who have won almost purely due to outstanding putting. Westwood is a complex person - he has tried very hard to make himself into a person that conflicts with his natural persona - eg he works out strenuously but is a naturally chubby person, he speaks when interviewed in a forced and brief manner when he is naturally an exuberant person, he is for ever restraining himself from being the natural quite extroverted character and appears to be trying to live and be a person who is at considerable variance from his natural persona. i suspect advisors, sports psychologists and others have tried to assist him with his mental and emotional approach to both golf and all that goes with being a well known international golfer but in my opinion he is greatly hampered by failing to be able to be himself and by actually trying to seem to be a type of person that he is not. He clearly has a mental block, problem (call it what you may) in taking the further step needed to win a Major and I am pretty certain it is mainly for the reasons and examples I have given above. Much is made of his inability to close out with his putting, and statistics tend to support this, but putting is a facet of the game that is the most vulnerable to mental and emotional turmoil and pressure eg it can cause a player to check on the stroke, get out of line during the stroke, grip the putter too tightly. His tee to green play is generally exemplary and it is here that in my view he feels more free and more his natural self. He is far less likely to make the sort of errors when hitting woods or irons that he makes when putting, the latter being a more stressful and pressured part of the game especially for a golfer who believes it is his putting that has previously hampered him from winning, especially Majors. Undoubtedly he puts great pressure on himself when putting and I feel this pressure plus huge emotional stress combined with the expectations of all people who yearn for him to win a Major join together to make it even more difficult for him. In his earlier golfing years he was simply himself and all his natural characteristics (he was something of an extrovert then too) combined to make him far more relaxed and easy going, and this led to him winning regularly and leading the European money List on severaloccasions. Contrast that Westwood with the man we now see and know and I believe you should be able to comprehend the thrust of what I am saying about his continuing problems especially in Majors. If he tried now to revert to his other self there would be no guarantee of greater prospects of success and I also believe that he is now too imbued with the characteristics of the person he has become - the person he now seems to be. I may not be entirely correct but I do believe that his problems are far greater and more complex than a problem with clutch putting and closing out Major Golf Championships.

  • Comment number 78.

    #75

    I remember this Blog - just goes to show how badly wrong the so called experts can get it.

    Never had any confidence Luke Donald would feature, surely one of the worst No 1 ever in terms of records in Majors. He talked about peaking at the wrong times..if you can't get things together for Major tournaments, you may as well not bother turning up.

    As for Rory, you never really know what you are going to get and he clearly hasn't learnt how to deal with this course over 4 rounds since last year.

    Poulter did ok, as did Rose but the former always flatters to deceive and Rose lacks consistency. When it comes to majors, I have always maintained you need to be able to conjure a bit of magic from time to time to gain theat extra lift as well as achieving the consistency and ability to defend when the going gets tough....Woods holing out on the 16th in 05, Mickleson's 4 iron afew years ago from the trees etc made the difference between victory and second in those particular tourneys..

  • Comment number 79.

    The British player who had the unluckiest time at the Masters was Justin Rose. When two strokes off the lead in the third round he landed his ball well on to the 15th green and could have been putting for eagle. The ball then began its slow inexorable roll into the water. Peter Alliss rightly commented on the sheer unfairness of this. It was not a bad shot, it did not deserve such punishment. Inevitably 16, 17 and 18 were further disapointments. I have long thought that Justin Rose is the likeliest British player of our majorless winners to break the duck.
    I agree that a Brit will win a major this year. Alas, I don't think it will be Westwood. I also agree about the Vaughan disaster. Why do the BBC bring in non-golfing experts (surely they should have learned from the Gary Lineker experiment.) The nadir was when Vaughan assumed Woods had won three Masters. Woods politely informed him it was four.

  • Comment number 80.

    Good article, but when it comes down to it there are probably 30 or so golfers that on their day can win any tournament, Major or not. People keep making reference to the good old days of golf, but in my eyes the competiton is far greater now, hence the varying winners on the various professional tours.

    Donald/Westwood/Rose have won many tournaments around the world, they are clearly good enough. However when it comes to the major you need to have 4 consistent rounds and probably one lower round, and a bit of luck. Lee/Donald/Rose are both consistent but lack the flair to shoot a really low score. Would any of those three considered even taking on the shot Bubba it on the 10th??? I suspect none of them would. Golf is a simple game, which sometimes the pro's appear to over complicate. It would be interesting to see how these guys would go about their rounds without a caddy, ie it would be up them to make a decision rather than making the decision by committee.

  • Comment number 81.

    @79 - All ifs buts and maybe's as happens so often at Augusta, however i feel like you that if Rose had gone on to make like he surely could/should then his round and possibly even tournament could have ended differently.

    You just have to accept that that's Augusta, it may seem unfair at times but everyone is playing the same course, you turn up knowing that the severity of the greens could bite you at any time. Just a shame for those who support him that he was the victim on this occasion.

  • Comment number 82.

    The autopsy as to why he didn't win this one probably doesn't help.

    He didn't win this weekend because somebody played better than him this weekend. Another weekend he will win. Stick to what you do and don't think too much.

  • Comment number 83.

    @81 - You are 100% correct, Augusta is a course built for luck. Beacuse of the complexities of the green, you can hit a brilliant iron shot but if it lands a foot this way or a foot that way you can either be off the green or by the hole. It is litterally a game of inches. I dont think it gives a true representation of a golfers technical ability rather their ability to manage the situations that arise.

    That said Westwood should have had this in the bag, his double bogey on Friday night set the tone for the rest of the weekend.

  • Comment number 84.

    Jimmy ifs and buts can make a massive difference,what say Micklesons ball had landed in the grandstand next to the fourth, free drop prob make a three instead of the six and bang he won another green jacket. It does seem the masters although no real rough does punish bad shots but also punishes shots that on other courses would have been ok.

  • Comment number 85.

    not the greatest golf fan but i watch the majors(when i can) and follow the tour,rankings etc from time to time bit congrats to bubba and comiserations to Oosthuizen overall i thought he deserved to win but some of his putts just slipped past.

    in my personal opinion i think the brits of westwood and donald,of the 2 lee has a much better chance than donald at winning a major,donald by what i see chokes when the pressure of a major appears.he has a awful record for a world no1 in majors best is a tied 3rd once,and it is not like he is a prolific winner,westwood has won alot more.i personal dont believe the hype of donald great short game but it didnt do him much good last week.lee has to improve his putting as the sayings says "driving is for show,putting is for dough".i jknow you can never compare tiger woods to anyone but his driving in his prime was solid if not spectacular,but his clutch putting was the best in history by a country mile,when he had a putt he needed to make he made it 7-8/10

    im angry at rorys perfomence,right in the thick of it then completely collapses from
    -5 at one stage to +7 at one stage that isnt world class to be honest and i would be stunned if he won another major this year.his major record after the us open is pathetic for the next great thing apparantly.

  • Comment number 86.

    At Last Years Open Westwood lead the field in Greens in regulation,,,,,,,, and missed the cut!!! That tells you all you need to know about his putting. I am sorry but it's T3 everytime for Lee !

  • Comment number 87.

    Good article, and I agree he needs to play to his strengths cause he's a great player. You can pick away but I think like woods its all in the mind. The expectation is the greatest burden and it's how you use it to your advantage. The need to achieve rather than the need to avoid failure, thats the beauty of this game that's what made the greats like Nicklaus and hopefully the return of Tiger

  • Comment number 88.

    With regard to comment no3 what a load of rubbish! Westwood struggles with his putting full stop,it's nothing to do with pressure.during the 4th round the commentators said that he had 21 more putts than the 2 leaders for the 3 rounds(7 per round average) if he had only had 5 more putts per round he would of won by 2. Please Lee go and see peltz or even mickelson,strcker or Donald and the majors will start pouring in!! Lee is By far the best golfer in world golf right now,good luck for the us open

  • Comment number 89.

    Sometimes it's just fate. Colin Montgomery was at least as good a ball striker as Westwood is now, and maybe a better putter, but couldn't get past the finish line. Monty, like Lee, close a few times, but no Darren Clarke cigar.

  • Comment number 90.

    Re: 59

    I would recommend that you search for "Cherry Picking (fallacy)" on Wikipedia.

  • Comment number 91.

    #86 Jamie... really? Great fact - I never knew that.
    #88 Don't worry - always plenty of smart ar**s who think they know 'facts'. The fact is Lee wasn't good enough at the Masters and all the relevant stats point to the reason why.
    Incredibly people still feel the need to then point it out. Yes, everyone including Westwood himself knows that his putting stopped him winning the Masters.
    And as many of the real golf fans have said, we should all hope he put(t)s it right and gets the Major he deserves.

  • Comment number 92.

    I really feel for Westwood. It boggles the mind that a guy can miss that many chances and still finish only two off the lead, and it's testament to just how far ahead of the field he is from tee to green. It's not as if he even needed to putt well to win - he only needed to hole a couple of the dozens that slipped past and he'd have been in the playoff.

    I can't understand those saying that Lee will never win a major. Putting isn't and will never be his strength, but this performance on the greens was well below his relatively average usual standard - in another week he could have won this tournament by 5 strokes with an 'ok' putting performance, of which he is more than capable.

  • Comment number 93.

    Westwood will just need to go to Dave Stockton and sort out the problem he has. I remember (because I am that old) the a certain Mr Faldo was not the greatest putter in the world but still managed 6 majors. The premise that he will never win one is a stupid one. Every person who competes in a major has a chance to win it some get more lucky than others on the day (Louis take note). Westwood will probably do a Clarke when everyone has forgotten about him not winning a major he will turn up at one and win it at a canter. I ahd to laught at the comment at Tiger getting his control back, which player wer you watching idiot! The one who couldn't hit an elephants backside with a banjo standing a foot away or the one you dream about returning. I have stated it before on this blog he may win 2 more if he is luck and these will be at St Andrews ot Augusta because these are courses he knows well. The bet I have on that he won't win one this year however looks very safe at the moment!
    Oh and to all the westwood bashers don't be too hard on the lad he's going to be bringing the Ryder cup back to these shores!!! I can't wait for that! lets hope they pick Tiger as a wild card should be an easy scalp for some European

  • Comment number 94.

    #77 Writing "NOT" in capital letters won't make it any more true. It seems to me you are over-analyzing this and making odd psychological assumptions based on little or no evidence.

    Lee could easily have won without putting any better. His tee-to-green play on Saturday was a bit off, if he'd have played like he did on days 1, 2, 4 it would have made the putting issue irrelevant ... in my opinion, other opinions are available :-)

    In any case, I'm not going to feel any sympathy for people who earn millions for doing what they love, whether they win a blessed Major or not.

  • Comment number 95.

    Not being one to over analyse things... I think I will. Westwood doubled 18 on Friday by 3 putting, through sheer carlessness missed a one-footer (day 3) and then got plugged in the front bunker on 12 and took 2 to get out.
    There you go... 3 ifs buts and maybes that say Westwood really won the Masters in a parallel universe.
    Whilst I appreciate this is a blog about Westwood, I'd also like to see the blog about Rory and Bilo's poor attempt to defend the indefensible!

  • Comment number 96.

    Any golfer, whether he is competing in a monthly medal or a major, needs to have a good time with the flat stick if he is to win. This is because the advantage the best putter has over the rest of the field in terms of its effect in producing low scores is greater than the similar advantage the best player from tee to green enjoys.

    Some pros are more proficient at putting than others. However, no matter how proficient a pro is, he will have good times and bad times with the flat stick relative to his level of proficiency. This is one of the reasons why it is so difficult to predict a winner in tournament golf!

    Although Westwood is undoubtedly one of the best (if not the best) players in the world from tee to green, clearly he is not the best putter in the world. However, I don’t think he is a terrible putter either. He wouldn’t be such a prolific winner if he was. Also, although he clearly didn’t have a good week with the putter I don’t think he had a shocking or awful time with the flat stick either. The commentators on the BBC TV coverage on Sunday night quoted a comparison a between the total number of putts taken by Mickelson as against Westwood during the tournament as a measure of Westwood’s poor performance with the putter during the week. However, in my view this is an inappropriate measure of Westwood’s putting performance. Even if Westwood had have performed to a similar standard with the putter as Mickelson he would have had far more putts because Westwood hit far more greens in regulation. A more appropriate measure would have been to Westwood’s total number of putts against Matt Kuchar’s, who hit the same number of greens in regulation as Westwood and is widely considered to be an excellent putter. See the statistics below:

    GIR Putts 3 Putts
    Westwood 58 of 72 128 4
    Kuchar 58 of 72 123 4
    Mickelson 45 of 72 107 1

    From the above statistics it is apparent that Westwood did have a bad week with the putter but not so much worse than Kuchar. It should also be noted that Kuchar had the some number of 3 putts as Westwood - 4 - one of which (on the 9th on Sunday) was from 5 feet.

    There are probably things Westwood could do to improve his putting stroke but I think most of his problems relate to the mental side of the game.%

  • Comment number 97.

    The problem is norman that this seems to happen to Westwood in the Majors on a fairly regular basis. His perfromance at the Weekend was similar to how he performed at other Majors in recent years - Torrey Pines, Turnberry etc - tee to green, great, around the Green, average.

    He clearly needs a change of scene/coach for this dept of his game - a fresh pair of eyes possibly. Its been his weakness for years - Roe has improved his chipping which used to be very cluncky a la Hal Sutton but his putting definatley needs to improve under pressure in the biggies if he is to get over the line. Missing that 6 footer Eagle putt on the 15th ( i think it was this hole) was criminal - those just have to drop

    The big problem he has if that if his confidence start ot slide, the rest of his game may follow and from there, it is very difficult to get back.

    Monty pretty much lost it after losing the 2005 USO which he really should have won.

  • Comment number 98.

    I think all Westwood needs is a good psychologist and a belly putter

  • Comment number 99.

    77. closertofine

    Fascinating theory
    I wonder whether this could be true
    He does seem to be quite tense and careful when interviewed
    Similar to the forced control he seems to try and exert over the putter

    Perhaps a complete change of image is needed
    Turn up in a funny hat churning out one line gags during the pre tounament interview, put on a couple of stone, grow a Johnson Wagner 'tache and get a belly putter
    Maybe he would relax a bit and start holing some putts

  • Comment number 100.

    #99 divotedgolfer... nice - I'm feeling that look already! In fact that's how I imagine Bilo being as he arrives at Withington of a weekend!
    Square wheels on his car, doors fall off etc etc...
    Honk honk!

 

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