With the PGA TOUR set to resume its 2013-14 season the first week of January, PGATOUR.COM is previewing the top 30 players to watch heading into the new year. We'll count down one a day in December until we unveil our No. 1 player to watch on Dec. 30, the Monday of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
Check out this preview of No. 24 Lee Westwood and join the discussion below on how you think he'll perform in 2014. Click here for more on the top 30 to watch in 2014.
NO. 24 PLAYER TO WATCH: LEE WESTWOOD
2014 OUTLOOK: There's not much Lee Westwood hasn't done in his career. The 40-year-old has 38 worldwide wins, been an integral part of victorious European Ryder Cup teams and even reached No. 1 in the world. The only thing he hasn't done, of course, is win a major championship, which is where much of his focus is (and should) be. Westwood's first year living in the U.S. full-time went fairly well with a half-dozen top 10s in 19 starts. He also played well in three of the year's four majors with a tie for third at The Open Championship his best result. Expect that trend to continue. -- Brian Wacker
THUS FAR THIS SEASON: Westwood broke 70 just once in four rounds in his only start of the new year, at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions.
The affable Brit is the ubiquitous groomsman in the majors with eight top-three finishes since the 2008 U.S. Open. That'll work just fine for our purposes. Also have to love a career-high 19 starts in 2013 despite not advancing to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. -- Rob Bolton
|ON THE MARK
Westwood’s golf swing lends itself to consistent and flush ball-striking as he hits as “heavy” a ball as anyone I’ve watched. It’s a stable, repeating action that does not employ too many unnecessary levers. Once Lee tightens up and improves his scrambling, i.e., pitching and putting, I feel like he will be even more of a force. -- Mark Immelman
The Englishman who was so dedicated to his game that he moved his family to the United States so that he could practice in better conditions year round. He is also a great driver of the golf ball who plays well on hard courses. He lives close to PGA National and could be a winner at The Honda Classic. -- Fred Albers
|INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Westwood moved to South Florida with the goal of improving his short game. One half of that equation was accomplished in 2013 as Westwood leaped from 191st (48.30 percent) to 21st (61.57) in scrambling. He’s still struggling on the greens, however, ranking 168th in strokes gained-putting, losing .484 shots to the field average. -- Bill Cooney
By PGATOUR.COM Staff
Jacksonville native Bud Cauley was on-hand at Thursday's Jaguars-Texans game, participating in a halftime closest-to-the-pin contest with Jaguars mascot Jaxson de Ville. Not surprisingly, the TOUR pro came out on top.
Hitting from a high corner of EverBank field, Cauley and Jaxson de Ville each took one shot at a small target at midfield. Since Cauley won the contest (although the mascot certainly made it interesting), the Jaguars Foundation made a $10,000 donation to the Bud Cauley Foundation, which raises money and awareness for military-related charities.
Below is video of Bud's shot.
Cauley was also featured on NFL Network in an interview with Michael Irvin before the game.
Ernie Els received the news of the death of Nelson Mandela while he was at home in South Africa playing in the Nebank Golf Challenge. Prior to the second round of the Sunshine Tour event, Els stopped to offer some thoughts on the Nobel Prize winner and personal friend.
Q. Your initial thoughts on the day?
A. It is a very sad day. A very sad day for South Africa and the world really. We have lost one of the iconic leaders of our time. You cannot say anything bad about the man. He fought for what he believed in, went to prison for so many years and came out to lead our country up until now. He was the father of our country and our continent. It’s just very sad that he had to go. He was 95 and led a full life but a lot of that wasn’t spent on what he was so good at because he was away for so many years.
Q. You have met the man, you must have some personal memories?
A. I get him for the first time in 1994 with Mr (Johann) Rupert when we had a dinner together and then after that we stayed in touch. I used to play that tournament at Houghton and his home was very close to Houghton Golf Club. He came over one time and we exchanged gifts with each other. That was kind of a Press function but I have still got the picture from that day in 1996 in my office in the US. And then every time I won a tournament he used to call me. I remember flying to London on one occasion. We were sitting up front and then Mr Mandela came onto the plane last. He was sitting in the front seat and he saw me and my daughter sitting next to me and all of a sudden he didn’t really want to see me anymore – he wanted to talk to my daughter. He got Samantha to go up there and she sat on his lap and he spoke to her like she was his grandchild. They were special times and the little time we had together was very special. He was just the most amazing person I have ever met.
Q. How did you find out last night?
A. I started to get a lot of text messages coming through, mostly from the U.S., and I checked it out and then put the television on and it was all over the news. That is how we heard about it.
Q. Is there a sense for you and the other South African players that today will be an emotional day on the course?
A. Very tough, yes. He was our President and the man who changed our lives. It could have been so different in South Africa but he kept his head and kept everyone going forward. I was in the Air Force when the ANC was banned. I remember those days in the 1980s when the Government was against the ANC. You know, they were our enemies. And then President Mandela comes in and takes over the country and leads it in a democratic way. He was an unbelievable guy and the guys who lived in that generation will really miss him.
Q. You are wearing black ribbons as a mark of respect?
A. Yeah, I think that is the right thing to do. It is the least we can do. It is going to be a tough day for the whole country so we will see how it goes.
By PGA TOUR staff
Former South Africa President Nelson Mandela, who emerged from prison after 27 years to lead South Africa out of apartheid, died on Thursday. He was 95.
Here is a statement from PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem:
"We share the world’s mourning of Nelson Mandela’s death. We had the honor and privilege of meeting Mr. Mandela during The Presidents Cup in 2003, when he attended the opening ceremony and graciously made himself available to meet individually with the players. It was a memorable week and his mere presence helped elevate the stature of the event. We truly feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet such a great man."
By PGATOUR.COM staff
Former South African President Nelson Mandela died Thursday at age 95.
News of the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize recipient's passing was mourned the world around and some players -- both current and former -- have taken to Twitter to share their thoughts. We've compiled some of those Tweets below.
Condolences to all on the passing of our beloved Father of the South African Nation, Nelson Mandela. Madiba we loved you. Rest in Peace.— Gary Player (@garyplayer) December 5, 2013
Nelson Mandela's courage, forgiveness, love & hope inspired people around the world. He made me want to be a better man. RIP Tata— Gary Player (@garyplayer) December 5, 2013
Pop & I felt your aura when we met, I feel it today & I will feel it forever. You have done so much for humanity...— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) December 6, 2013
My thoughts & prayers go out to Pres Nelson Mandela's family on his passing today. One of the greatest humans I ever had privilege to meet.— Greg Norman (@SharkGregNorman) December 5, 2013