Lee Westwood believes his runner-up finish in 2010 has given him the confidence he can win the Masters this year.
Westwood’s total of 13-under-par two years ago would have been good enough to win 15 of the last 20 Masters tournaments. He finished tied-11th last year and has addressed his putting problems in pursuit of his maiden major title.
“I always felt like the golf course suits my game. When you come close like that, it gives you an extra boost of confidence out there. I played alright that last day in 2010, it’s just Phil played really well, shot a 67. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Westwood started working with putting expert Phil Kenyon last year in a bid to cure his putting woes and believes his short game is moving in the right direction.
“He’s given me a few better ideas about what makes a good putt and what I have to do in my stroke to putt well. So it’s a case of me then adapting that for my own stroke.”
The talk at Augusta this week is all about the rivalry between Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy and particularly Tiger’s return to form after winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill two weeks ago. Westwood played with Woods at the Honda Classic before that and saw glimpses of Tiger being back to his best.
“You could see there were sort of flickers of the game coming back. He hit some shots, holding the ball against the wind or driving it with more shape, where you need to have total control. One thing for sure about people that are winners, when they get back into that situation of trying to win a tournament, they know how to finish it off.”
On the rivalry between Tiger and Rory, Westwood feels it would be naiive to write others like himself off this week.
“Rory’s never won here, Tiger hasn’t won since 2005. So I think anyone who thinks it’s a two-horse race is naiive. I think Phil might have something to say about that, Luke might, I might. It is what it is, can I say that?”
Westwood also believes he’s still learning how to play Augusta despite this week being his 13th Masters appearance. “I’m still learning where to miss it. Sometimes you’re better off having a chip from under the hole than a 15-footer above the hole.”
Westwood tees off at 5.58pm UK time on Thursday with Vijay Singh and Jim Furyk. See the other notable round 1 pairings here.
You can pick Lee Westwood for $5m in the TG Fantasy Game that starts at the Masters this week here.
Check out exclusive power instruction tips from Lee Westwood in the next issue of Today’s Golfer, on sale April 19th.
Westy's Masters stats:
Rounds played: 42
Scoring Average: 72.93
Relation to par: 39 over
Top-ten finishes: 2
Rounds under par: 14
Lowest Score: 67
Highest score 79