“Twelve months ago I wasn’t keen to get out there again because when you have been fourth in the world and used to winning a lot, the main enjoyment comes from competing. I did contemplate other options… but not for too long. It would have been hard for me to have gone and done some proper work. I’d much rather be on a golf course enjoying myself. It makes you realise how lucky you are when you go through a bad patch. This isn’t work, it’s golf.
“There are peaks and troughs in all aspects of life and when you are on a peak you don’t realise just how good the view is until you end up in a trough. Once you’ve got back on to the next peak is when you realise just how good it is up there and you don’t want to go back down”.
Westwood believes he is a better golfer now, mainly thanks to the input of top golf coach David Leadbetter, than he was during the five years when he won 24 times around the world.
“People used to say that David could only teach one way, but that’s not the case,” said Westwood. “He tailors everything to each individual and keeps things very simple. Whatever you ask him about the swing he seems to have an answer for and he only gets as technical as you want him to be. He also boosts my confidence and has proved very inspirational”.
Westwood starts his new campaign in South Africa this week hoping for a quick start to boost his current world standing of 63. “I need to get into the top 50 fairly soon so that I qualify for all the majors and world championship events,” he said.
Although Westwood now has 26 worldwide wins to his credit he still feels his short game needs to improve if he is to win a Major. “That’s the area we have identified as my weakness so that’s where most of the work has gone in”. Westwood is determined that there will be no repeat of the slump that took way down the rankings. “When people have written that you are not going to win again and that we have seen the best of Lee Westwood, it makes it all the sweeter when you do come back,” he said.
Written by Martin Hardy on behalf of ISM Ltd