Westwood said on Tuesday: “Fifteen per cent of the field this week is English. It’s staggering. Sometimes people don’t appreciate how good English golf is at the minute and it probably doesn’t get the credit it deserves in the general sports media.
“They highlight players in other sports where we have one in the top 100. In golf they get overlooked a bit and I don’t think we should.”
There are 11 Englishmen in the world’s top 100 and five in the top 25.
Westwood seemed to have Andy Murray in mind when he referred to highlighting players in other sports “where we have one in the top 100″. English tennis is a joke, but the Scot Murray seems to get more airtime than the whole of English golf combined.
English golfers have been collectively more successful than Murray over the past two years but presumably one of them needs to win a major championship to correct the imbalance. Of course that cannot happen this week, but an English victory might be another step up the fairway.
Last year Paul Casey lost in the final to Geoff Ogilvy and Ross Fisher went out in the semis. There are plenty of Englishmen in the field who have a good chance of improving on those performances.
Funnily enough the second-seeded Westwood is not one of them. When his daughter Poppy asked him which day he would be home Westwood said: “Historically Thursday, optimistically Sunday.” For one reason or another Westwood has never got past the second round.
An Englishman will certainly win his match today because Westwood plays Chris Wood. But there is not one Englishman who you would say is heavily odds against, not even Ross McGowan, who plays the top seed Steve Stricker.
Westwood said he would rank winning a World Golf Championship event just below winning a major and the Order of Merit. An Englishman has never won a WGC event since their inauguration in 1999, but Fisher, Casey and Ian Poulter all look to have a good chance of ending that failure in what looks a wide open week.