Interview with Lee Westwood after Round 2 of the Daily Telegraph Damovo British Masters
I played very well. Hit the ball good as yesterday when I just didnít hole any putts and it was very frustrating. It was one of those things. Thatís the way it has been going for the first part of the year. Playing great tee to green and just not making any putts and coming off three or four shots worse than I should have been. Worked hard on my putting last night and a small thing clicked, just wasnít releasing my putter enough and holed a few more today. Made a couple from 15 feet and one from 20 feet and that is the reason I shot 65.
Disappointing to three putt the last?
It was a difficult putt. I left myself in a tricky shot with about five feet break on it. Once it ran three or four feet below the hole those are always difficult out here as the greens are very soft after the rain we have had and the heal prints stay in the greens a little bit longer and they can jump of f line. That one just jumped left as soon as I hit it. Those things are going to happen and will probably happen over the weekend and you just have to put it out of your mind and get on with it.
When you are playing like that do you feel your confidence grow?
Yes. It is a vicious circle, confidence breeds good play and good play breeds confidence. If you hit the shots you are trying to hit and achieve the goals you are set out when you stand behind the ball that has to give you confidence.
Were you in the thick stuff at all?
No, semi rough twice on 17th and 9th. Hit every other fairway which is probably the reason I shot 65 more than anything else. I putted well. But missed from ten feet on 11th, ten feet on 1st and 15ft on 17th and had a couple of chances on 5th and 8th and three putted the last so it is not like my putting got me round in 65. It was more tee to green, hitting the fairways and giving myself a lot of chances.
I have been hitting the ball very well all year just not converting the chances. It has been frustrating and I have had days when I have hit the ball well and shot 73 and it gets to you a little bit. The next day you donít hit the ball so well because you feel your long game is under pressure because you donít hole the putts. It is always very important for a professional golfer to make the putts because it takes the pressure off the long game. You can go for flags because you feel you can get up and down. If you are making a lot of birdies you feel you can make a low score and the bogeys donít hurt so much when you are making a lot of birdies.
Can you elaborate on the putting changes?
Just trying to stand a little taller. Keep my left arm in the body a bit more, rock my shoulders and make my putter release. I have been figuring it out over a long period of time and you learn things all the time. It is a combination of things.
Are you staying here?
Yes. Steve is here so I will go to the gym and do some work there. Just relax. Donít particularly like driving so save myself three hours in a car each day,. I still need to work on my game, work on my putting a bit more. I have been home at the weekends here but usually when I have only just made the cut and have to come back early in the morning and the roads are free of traffic.
Expectations for tomorrow?
No expectations for tomorrow. I have given up on expectations and goals. I just try and keep playing how I have been over the first two days. I will work on the putting again and try and groove that. Go out and try and give myself as many birdie chances as possible by hitting as many fairways as possible.
Did David Leadbetter give you a time scale of when you would be ready to win again?
No not really. I started seeing him in the January and at the Memorial which was about this time of year last year he saw how I was hitting on the range and said I was ready to win a tournament again. So it was about five months after I started seeing him.
How close are you to when you were winning for fun?
It is hard to tell and to be honest I donít think about it. I had a very frustrating two and a half years when I didnít give myself any chances to win any tournaments. It was a fairly frustrating and tedious time, going to the range and not accomplishing much and then going on the course with not a lot to go with. Now I go on the range and see the improvement and just enjoying playing golf. I am looking forward to playing. It is a lot easier to enjoy it when you are playing well.
Do you enjoy it more now than when you were winning all the time?
No, I enjoyed it when I was playing great. Who wouldnít. I do what other people do for fun every day so why not enjoy what I am doing. It is a great job.
What was the problem when you were playing badly?
It was a combination of a lot of things.
Do you think what happened has changed your personality?
It makes you appreciate the good times a lot more when you have had a slump. That is the only way it has changed me. I was a fairly jovial character before that and during that time I tried to stay as happy and positive as possible but occasionally it is going to get to you. It changes you a little bit but not a lot.
You seem very focused on the course?
I have always been very focused. You canít win as may times as I have without being able to focus. It is something I have never lost, my ability to concentrate and turn it on and off. Just one of those things I have always had, donít know why.
When was the last time you played with Faldo?
Donít know,. It is quite a long time since I played with Monty. Monty and I were talking on the first tee yesterday and we couldnít remember. It was nice to play with both of them. Get on well with both of them.
Nick struggled a bit over the two days. He looks like he is working on a few things and I know as well as anybody how difficult it is to score when you are working on things on the course. Also he is in a similar frustrating position when he hasnít holed anything for two days, and it spreads through your game.
What did you think of Montyís performance?
I think Monty played very well considering the circumstances. Must have other things on his mind but you donít win seven order of merits without the ability to switch off and focus on the job in hand.
What do you think about the Jesper Parnevik situation?
I can see why the European Tour do it and make people play 11 tournaments because they want players to play on the European Tour. It is very difficult because if you ask Jesper where he is from he will say Sweden and the last time I checked the Ryder Cup was between Europeans and Americans not the European Tour and the US PGA Tour. I have always fallen down on the side of if you are from EuropeÖ. Even the likes of Luke Donald. He has always set his stall out to play on the US Tour. Why should he be penalised for doing that and living his dream and not being able to play in the Ryder Cup. He considers himself English, he plays out of England, has an English flag on his golf bag. It is disappointing if you ask me. I thought the idea was to put out our best side and if he qualifies through getting enough world ranking points but not playing 11 events in Europe, or counting on the European Tour I think it would be a shame.
Do most players you talk to think the same?
I donít know. Iíve not talked to anybody about it. Thatís my opinion.
If it is going to be European Tour against US Tour they are going to have a hell of a side and what side does Ernie fall on and Retief fall on. If you ask me it is European born players against US born players.