Tuesday, 17 July 2012
Lee Westwood   (Getty Images)
Lee Westwood (Getty Images)

He might be still searching for his maiden Major Championship, but Lee Westwood’s recent form in golf’s grand slam events means the Englishman heads into The Open Championship confident that he can make the breakthrough at Royal Lytham & St Annes.

The World Number Three has been a model of consistency on the big stage over the past two seasons, recording top ten finishes in four of the last five in Major Championships, the one anomaly in that run being last year’s Open Championship.
Royal Lytham will be Westwood's 58th attempt to land a Major and the 39 year old has now had 14 top ten finishes, seven of them in the top three.

Already this season he has finished tied third at the Masters Tournament and tied tenth at the US Open Championship, alongside claiming his 22nd European Tour title in the Nordea Masters.

Those performances have served to reinforce his belief that success in the Majors is just around the corner.

“I had a decent chance at the Masters and was in contention again at the US Open a few weeks ago, so I am feeling very confident going to Lytham,” said Westwood.  

“My form has been really good in the Majors recently. I look forward to every Major I play in and I seem to be contending in all of them, other than maybe The Open last year at Royal St George’s. I look forward to every tournament in play in, but particularly the Majors. If you are playing well, you do.”

Westwood, who in 2010 ended Tiger Woods’ five year reign as World Number One, finished tied 47th the last time The Open Championship visited Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2001.

And with the Olympic Games visiting his homeland after The Open, and Andy Murray reaching the Wimbledon final, Westwood is hoping to help make it a year to remember for British sports fans.

“Lytham is one of the best courses on the Open roster and with it being in England as well I am really looking forward to it,” said the seven-time Ryder Cup player.

“It’s a big sporting summer for us in Britain and maybe we can get a roll going.”

And Lytham also has a special resonance for home fans as it was here in 1969 that Tony Jacklin won The Open - the last time an Englishman won an Open on English soil.

“This is the biggest championship in the world for me,” said Westwood. “It would obviously mean a lot, not just because Tony was the last Englishman to win The Open Championship in England, but because it's the Open Championship.”

And after a week off and some early practice, Westwood is looking relaxed and ready to challenge once again.

“The preparations have gone well,” he said.  “My game is in good shape.  I played the golf course last week, which was a genius move because it was nice weather and there was hardly anybody out there.  It was one of the best Open Championship practices I ever had.

“There are penalties for missing fairways, but the fairways and greens are immaculate.  Hopefully it dries out a bit.  But this is an English Open; you can't hope for too much.  It's going to be a tough test, as Lytham is.”


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