Honda Classic Interview: Lee Westwood

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March 01, 2013

MORE INTERVIEWS: Honda Classic transcripts

LEE WESTWOOD: I played nicely. Except 15 where I made bogey, it went a lot further than I thought in the back there, left myself in a tricky position. Solid but pleased with the position.

Q. You seem to be staying away from the big numbers and a lot of bogeys this year; is that part of your game plan?

LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, especially around this golf course. It's a tough setup and it's one of the more demanding tests of the year. There's trouble out there; if you get a good game plan, then you can get around it. Once you start getting a bit cute and chasing, it can bite you.

Q. Testament to the golf course, Rickie Fowler sits 1‑over today, he's still in the top 10. 

LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, I mean, this morning, the ball was picking up a little bit of mud. Rickie got unlucky at 11, hit the fairway there and just squirted straight right on him, and that's the reason he shot 71 instead of 69.

Q. Ernie was just standing here talking about mud balls and how he felt like you guys should still have the lift, clean and place with the conditions the way they are. Did you have any troubles in that area?

LEE WESTWOOD: Well, I didn't hit that many fairways early on, so I had no problems with mud balls. I had one mud ball on the 6th, which was our 15th, something like that. 

The ball was definitely picking up mud. Early on I saw that problem with a few people; Keegan on the 10th fairway, which was our first hole, had mud and it shot straight right. And Rickie like I said on 11, sitting middle of the fairway and it shot straight right on him. And I saw Rory looking, waving his arms in the air on the front of us, on 11, as well, like he got mud on his ball. 

It was picking up a lot of mud yesterday. And I did find it quite strange that preferred lies wasn't on, just through the first two rounds just to get everybody through it so there was some sort of continuity. If it was marginal‑‑ but also, you know, you take it off with the second round to play and somebody could make that mistake, preferred lie. Normally you have it on the first round, you have it on the second round. But they must have thought they dried it sufficiently.

Q. Last year your 63 was too little, too late at the end; how do you feel your position this year compared to last year right now?

LEE WESTWOOD: Well, I was only five behind but still felt like I had a chance. I missed a good chance at 16 and didn't birdie the last. That could really have put some pressure on. 

But you know, 63 was a good round. I always played this golf course pretty well, so I'm pleased with the way I played the first couple of days and should be in decent position come the weekend.

Q. When did you realize Rory had withdrawn? 

LEE WESTWOOD: I think somebody told us. I know it suddenly speeded up in front like they were a two ball instead of a three, and then I saw going up the third that it was just Ernie and Mark Wilson.

Q. Have you ever withdrawn and can you speak to being such an elite player and not performing the way you know you're capable of? 

LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, I've withdrawn before. It's a fine line, really, and a difficult decision to make. You don't really want to withdraw, but if you're injured, you know, you're probably going to do the injury more damage. You know, if you're over par, people are going to look, oh, he took the easy way out. But if you're injured, you're injured, and you have to pull out. There's always another week.

Q. Playing with two of the best young players in the game, help your game?

LEE WESTWOOD: Makes you feel old. (Laughter) You know, they are talking about fast cars and I drive around in an Escalade some of the time. 

It's nice to watch them play. They play care‑free golf. They tee it up and hit it as hard as they can and they are not afraid to shape shots. They run the ball past the hole on the greens with speed, reminds me of me, ten, 15 years ago.

Q. How much easier of a week is it for you being here locally than when you played here in the past living in England?

LEE WESTWOOD: It's nice to not have to pack a suitcase. It's nice to go home and have dinner with the kids and sleep in your own bed. You know you have more options when it's a tournament close to where you live.

Q. How much have you played this course now?

LEE WESTWOOD: I haven't played it since last year's tournament. It's a good golf course and it gets played a lot. People want to come out and play it. So I stick to Old Palm where I practice there and the range out there.

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