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"You don't get to world number one by having any weaknesses" | Lee Westwood

Lee Westwood was a very special guest on Golf Weekly on Off The Ball on Thursday where he put rig...


"You don't get to world number one by having any weaknesses" | Lee Westwood

Lee Westwood was a very special guest on Golf Weekly on Off The Ball on Thursday where he put right a few perceptions about his game.

Despite being a former world number one, Ryder Cup winner, European Order of Merit winner and accumulating 44 titles in his professional career the lack of a Major Championship is frequently levelled at him.

Westwood himself is relaxed about how he has played in Majors and seems philosophical about the near misses mixed with pride in consistently contending.

"For about 10 years from about 2008 to 2016," says Westwood, "I gave myself loads of chances, I contended in lots of majors. Some final days I played well and other days someone played a little bit better, like Phil at The Masters."

If it happens, it happens

Despite appearing relaxed about the Major misses, he recalls them clearly:

"Other days I didn't play so well. There were times when I made mistakes like three-putting the last green at Turnberry to miss out on a play-off.

"Torrey Pines playing with Tiger, I made a bad decision with about six holes to play probably cost me.

"All those times I gave it my best shot and made what I thought was the right decision at the time, that's all you can really do.

"You can't make yourself win a Major championship, you just get yourself into the position and if it happens, it happens."

Far less-talented golfers than Westwood have Major titles, a fact the Englishman is aware of, but clearly not sore about.

"Sometimes it happens for people at majors," says Westwood. "For people like Ben Curtis and Todd Hamilton have won Majors, they played great on that week and they won a Major Championship.

"It just hasn't happened to work for me yet. All you can do is try to put yourself in the position and try to do the right thing at the right time."

The Padraig Harrington point that misses can scar players and scare them away from Majors was put to Westwood. Joe wondered how he kept coming back for more.

Simply, that is where Westwood felt he belonged.

"Some of my most enjoyable days have been on the last days of Major Championships. I think about Torrey Pines with Tiger, Phil at The Masters, with Danny Willett at the Masters when he won and I finished second.

"As a professional golfer and as one of the top golfers in the world you want to be in those situations.

"It's like playing in the Ryder Cup, you want to be under that kind of pressure all of the time. When you are not under it you miss it. It's a great place to be, if you embrace it and enjoy it."

Some linger longer than others

With so many Major near misses some are bound to sting more than others, Westwood says he has an adequate coping strategy.

"Some linger longer than others. That one in Turnberry was about 12 hours and three bottles of wine!

"Some have been less, some have been two bottles some have been one...

"I shake off disappointments pretty well, I played great that week and just made a mental error on the last green.

"But if you don't like being in those situations, don't play professional sport, really."

It's fair to say lee Westwood strongly rejects the perception that his short game has let him down.

"I was World number one for half a year, you don't get to World number one by having any weaknesses in your game.

"Part of it was my own doing really, my driving and long game was of such a high standard, any other part of my game was not going to look as good, was it?

"It was going to be perceived as a weaker part of my game.

"In 2000, I remember winning the Order of Merit in Europe and I remember I was first in putts per green in regulation and first in total putts all year.

"People's perceptions of how you played are often a bit skewed. You have to be careful if you are analysing other people's games."

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