WESTWOOD OPTIMISTIC OVER CHANCES





After learning some lessons from his near misses in the major, World golf number two Lee Westwood is confident that this month’s Open will end his winning drought.

Westwood has five top-three finishes during the last seven premier gold tournaments he joined which remain unsurpassed by his peers.

His closest win was two years ago at Turnberry when he missed out on the playoff.  Stewart Cink eventually won versus veteran Tom Watson.

He may have had a vast experience after seven Ryder Cups during his 18-year career but Westwood said he has learned a valuable lesson.

“I remember what I did wrong there,” said the 38-year-old, who finished second at last year’s Open at St Andrews.

“I got out of focus. I played in the present all week, thought about winning the tournament on the last green, hit a bad putt and knocked it eight or nine feet by.

“You learn from experience. It is that one small thing, doing the right thing at the right time.

“It’s the finer details which get you over the line. I feel you have to keep doing the same things, not making too many dramatic changes but look for slight improvements here or there.

“My record has been great at the majors. I’ve had five top threes in the last seven so that is pretty good form.

“It (a major victory) is the only thing missing.

“I’ve played the Open pretty successfully the last couple of years so hopefully I can turn a third and a second into a first.”

Westwood was elevated to world’s number one last October until Martin Kaymer deposed him in February. He had a consistent form over the last few years with his joint 16th standing at the US Open last year being his lowest finish in the last seven majors.

He was able to rectify that last month when he finished third but way below US Open champion Rory Mcllroy who won his first major. Westwood refuses to be discouraged and is looking forward to another major event in his home soil even as he took a few days’ off to spend time with his family.

Westwood decided to miss the tournament in France this week but will return to action at the Scottish Open next week.

“In the back of my mind is the Open Championship but I try not to think about that until the week of the event,” said Westwood, speaking at a press conference to announce his professional attachment to Close House Hotel and Golf in Newcastle.

“The Scottish Open is a big tournament and one I’d like to win again.

“I’ll be thinking about that going into it, I won’t be distracted by the Open.

“I’ll go down to St George’s and do some practice while no-one is there and get a feel for it without too many distractions, then play the Scottish Open before getting back to St George’s on the Tuesday to then get going.

“I didn’t play that well the last time I played at St George’s but I was going through a bit of a slump so I don’t really worry about it that much.

“I won a couple of amateur tournaments there but I generally play links golf really well.”