US PGA Championship 2013: Lee Westwood targets first major

US PGA Championship

  • Venue: Oak Hill Country Club, Rochester, New York
  • Dates: 8-11 August

Coverage: Updates on BBC Radio 5 live on Thursday & Friday; Live from 21:00 BST on 5 live sports extra on Saturday; Live from 21:00 BST on 5 Live on Sunday; daily live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Lee Westwood says his straight driving offers a "significant advantage" as he resumes his quest for a first major at this week's US PGA at Oak Hill.

The 40-year-old took a two-shot lead into day four at the Open at Muirfield but slipped to tied third as Phil Mickelson won his first Claret Jug.

Westwood says Oak Hill suits him more than US Open venue Merion and Muirfield where irons were favoured off tees.

"There are rewards for driving the ball long and straight," he said.

Westwood's near misses at majors

  • 2008 US Open 3rd
  • 2009 Open tied 3rd, US PGA tied 3rd
  • 2010 Masters 2nd, Open 2nd
  • 2011 US Open tied 3rd
  • 2012 Masters tied 3rd
  • 2013 Open tied 3rd

The Englishman, who will tee it up in his 63rd major tournament on Thursday, has now finished in the top three a record eight times in majors without winning one.

But despite a tie for 40th behind Tiger Woods in last week's WGC-Invitational, Westwood believes his game is in shape to launch another serious challenge in the year's final major in upstate New York.

"If you're a good driver of the golf ball, then you can gain a big advantage. You can hit the driver a lot," he said at Oak Hill on Tuesday.

"I think there's some holes where people that maybe aren't so straight with drivers are going to be hitting an iron off the tee and probably going in with a five or six iron, but if you drive it well you are going to be going in with a nine iron or wedge and having a massive advantage.

"I've been hitting the ball pretty solidly. I played nicely tee‑to‑green last week, certainly better than even the week before at the Open. So I think it's all coming together and it's a good time to start playing well."

Westwood, who last year moved his family to Florida, has recently made a number of changes to his backroom team in search of a major breakthrough.

He has joined up with Canadian swing guru Sean Foley, who also coaches Tiger Woods and Justin Rose, is receiving putting help from former Open champion Ian Baker-Finch and getting mental tips from psychologist Ross Mackenzie.

"The main reason for finishing third at the Open was that I putted so well," he said.

"That's the first time I've putted well in I don't know how long.

"It seems to be what everybody else does every week, so that's a level of consistency that I've got to try to get to on the greens.

"I've been making a lot of changes and working on a lot of different things, so there's no surprise really that there was a significant difference between the Open and last week. Until changes take effect, then you're going to be a little bit inconsistent."

Westwood insists he took a lot of confidence from his Open performance, and says he will maintain the same approach at Oak Hill.

"I think obviously everybody that tees up here this week is here to try to win it - but you can't really go into tournaments with that as a goal. You're going to end up disappointed a lot really," he said.

"So the idea is to play the best you can and give yourself a chance on Sunday going into the back nine and just see what happens."