Lee Westwood has been forced to withdraw from the WGC – Bridgestone Invitational and next week’s US PGA Championship with a recurrence of the calf injury which first flared up at the ALSTOM Open de France.
He said: “I will be out for as long as it takes to get better. I am just hoping that it will be in time for me to play in The Ryder Cup.”
The European Number One has been struggling with the injury to his right calf since it flared up at Le Golf National a month ago. He played through the discomfort at St Andrews to finish runner-up in The Open Championship but the problem has subsequently deteriorated.
“It just seems to be getting worse,” said Westwood immediately after his second round at Firestone Country Club. “There's no strength in it. I don't have a deal of confidence in it, and then on the way down I'm finding it hard to hold my weight on it and then push off.”
Westwood had a chance to overtake Tiger Woods as World Number One with a top two finish in Akron but clearly his calf has been hindering his performance, and after rounds of 71 and 76, the 37 year old Englishman took the decision to pull out of two of the biggest tournaments of the year.
The World Number Three has been the form player over the last 18 months, finishing in the top three in four of the last five Majors and winning The Race to Dubai last year. This year he has accumulated more World Ranking Points than any other player to move within striking distance of Woods and Mickelson at the top of the World Ranking. But his hopes of becoming the first Englishman to attain the World Number One position since Nick Faldo in 1994 have been dashed by injury, for the time being.
Westwood now faces a battle to regain his fitness in time for The Ryder Cup which begins eight weeks today at The Celtic Manor Resort, Wales, on October 1. He has been a rock in The European Team since he made his debut in 1997, playing in six matches with a record of played 29, won 14, lost ten and halved five. He was unbeaten in all ten matches he played from 2004 at Oakland Hills and 2006 at The K Club.