Monday, 20 July 2009

Westwood tries to hide his wobbles, but we all saw them...

It was interesting to hear from Lee Westwood in his interview yesterday that he was glad he had kept it together on the back nine. What was that Lee? You did what there?

Having had a glorious week off the tee, finding 81% of Fairways, the best in the field, Lee started hocking it about like a Sunday golfer. It was a full blown choke. Leading after nine holes, he had the tournament in his grasp. With two shots in hand he conspired to lose it, unable even to make the play-off. Coming in with a 38, the worst score of an player on the back nine on Sunday. At any point he cold have turned it around to take what would have been a more deserving win to my mind than Stewart Cinks stealth smash and grab. But Lee took bogey on three onf the final four holes. That ain't holding it together and that ain't winning any majors.

But it's all there, he has the game to be a Major champion. He arguably has the strongest driving game out there, long and accurate and his tee to green play is generally superb. But crucially, the killer insctinct which marked him out in his early days on the European Tour seems to have left him of late. He had a fallow period around 2003, 2004 after winning the Order of merit in 2000, he failed to kick on and his career went on the rails somewhat. But he has recovered, with the faith shown in him by successive Ryder Cup Captains being richly rewarded (except for Faldo for whom he didn't perform at all for some reason...) and the talent and promise has seemed ready to be fulfilled this last few seasons.

His game is no doubt improved from his younger days, but the Lee Westwoood of old, won things when he got a sniff, he didn't fall away. But that has been his fate in recent times. He's in danger of becoming the new Sergio at this rate. I think he still is the most likely Brit to win a major, for all the up and coming youngsters who are around. He just needs to get his head right. Maybe call Bob Rotella, it worked for Padraig...

1 comment:

smokeandsteam said...

Could't agree more. Westwood's collapse has been largely overlooked by the Tom Watson story.

His 3 putt on 18 was a shocker. An Open champion would have certainly not left it short but would have also known that par was an essential minimum.

The last 9 of a major poses mental challenges that are unique. Compare and contrast Westwood's final 9 with the preceding 63 holes.

He will be very lucky to find himself in such favourable circumstances in a major again.