The Open 2013: Lee Westwood and Tiger Woods wilt on final day
THE OPEN: FINAL-ROUND LEADERBOARD
-3: Mickelson (US)
Par: Stenson (Swe)
+1: Scott (Aus), Poulter (Eng), Westwood (Eng)
+2: Matsuyama (Jpn), Z Johnson (US), Woods (US)
Selected: +3: Mahan (US)
+4: Cabrera (Spa)
+5: Jimenez (Spa)
+7: Garcia (Spa), Clarke (NI)
Sixty-two majors and counting.
The wait continues for Lee Westwood following his
failure to capitalise
on the two-stroke lead he held going into the final round at Muirfield.
seized the moment
in a way that remains beyond the Englishman, who has managed eight top-three finishes in majors since 2008.
Such an array of high finishes in the tournaments that matter is the hallmark of an outstanding golfer. There is no doubt that Westwood falls into that category.
But the question remains; will he ever win a major? Can he take that extra step that would make him capable of claiming one of golf's four biggest titles?
The Open: Lee Westwood reflects on his final round at Muirfield
At this Open, he slept on a third-round lead at a major for the second time. On the previous occasion, the 2010 Masters, it was
Mickelson who also prevailed
with outstanding back-nine golf.
That defeat three years ago owed much to the left-hander's brilliance but Westwood only managed a closing 71. It was a day when many players proved capable of going much lower.
The Englishman played better golf at Augusta to claim his third-round lead. Tee to green, he was immaculate - which was never the case at the Open.
Westwood's stats at Muirfield were completely out of character. His traditional ball striking strength became his weakness. His usual fallibility on the greens was his mainstay. No one putted better over the first three days.
Despite getting to three under par - two clear of the field - after 54 holes, Westwood languished in 62nd place in the Greens in Regulation figures. Rarely does that level of inaccuracy yield a major champion.
This wasn't a choke. The fact is that the 40-year-old wasn't playing well enough at Muirfield to win.
Eventually the course caught up with him and when decent putts early in the final round - the kind that had been dropping earlier in the week - started to only shave the hole, the pressure on his long game became intolerable.
Peter AllissBBC Sport
"There have been lots of very good players who have never won a championship and perhaps Lee Westwood is going to be one of those who never win.
"He'll be badgered by people and he will get the feeling, if he lets it get to him, that people are wondering why he doesn't win."
Muirfield's bunkers were tough. Heavy double loads of sand made for plugged lies. Westwood found this to his cost at the seventh, eighth and ninth holes.
This was the sequence of holes that cost him the chance of applying scoreboard pressure on the rest of the field, Mickelson included.
He is in the early stages of working with Sean Foley to iron out the kinks in his swing. The coach, who looks after Woods and US Open champion Justin Rose, is also capable of getting inside his players' heads.
Foley's infectious positivity is just what Westwood needs as he seeks to bounce back from his Muirfield disappointment.
Not that the swing guru's work carries any guarantees and Woods seems to have lost the ability to trust his whole game.
Once more, the world number one tried to win an Open without using a driver. Crucially, he didn't feel able to trust the club on the penultimate hole of his third round.
Battling into the wind on that par five, he couldn't carry the cross bunkers with two three woods and it cost him a bogey that helped Westwood to his two-stroke lead.
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