By PGATOUR.COM Staff
Lee Westwood will reunite with longtime caddie Billy Foster at next week's Northwestern Mutual World Challenge in Thousand Oaks, Calif., according to a report in the Daily Telegraph. Westwood and Foster split up after Foster injured his right knee playing soccer at the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship.
“Everyone knows that Lee and Billy were a great partnership and it made sense that now Billy is fully fit again that the partnership reforms,” Westwood's manager, Chubby Chandler, told the Daily Telegraph. “… They’ve had their heart-to-heart, sorted out whatever needed sorting out, and Billy will be back on Lee’s bag permanently, starting at Tiger’s event next week.”
Westwood won eight times and reached No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking with Foster on the bag during their three years together. Westwood also had six top-three finishes in majors during their time together. Foster has been working for Branden Grace, a member of this year's International Presidents Cup team.
Westwood is playing this week's Franklin Templeton Shootout with Ian Poulter and next week's Northwestern Mutual World Challenge. He'll return at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, where he finished third at the 2008 U.S. Open.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Lee Westwood entered this week's BMW Championship directly on the bubble. Ranked 30th in FedExCup points, he would be the last man to qualify for next week's FedExCup Playoffs finale, the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, if he can maintain that position.
But the bubble boy wasn't feeling particularly bubbly on Thursday. Suffering from what he described as a "stiff back, bad neck and sore rib," Westwood shot a 9-over 80 in Thursday's first round and is next to last on the scoreboard.
Afterward, during a brief chat with reporters, he could barely turn his neck. He was on his way to see a doctor in hopes of finding a way that will allow him to continue playing this week.
"I hope to keep going," he said.
Westwood arrived at Conway Farms this week suffering from the injury problems. He spent part of his practice time working with his swing coach, Sean Foley.
"We were looking for ways to swing around the injuries," Westwood said. "Obviously I want to play in the TOUR Championship so thought I'd give it a go."
As he left the scoring area, Westwood -- now projected to fall to 41st in points, which would keep him out of East Lake -- didn't look so good.
"I'm in pain," he said. "I feel sick."
NORTON, Mass. -- Lee Westwood woke up with a stiff back Friday morning. Not that you would know it for the 5-under 66 he shot in the opening round of the Deutsche Bank Championship.
That ties for his lowest round on the PGA TOUR this season; he's shot 66 on three other occasions, including the first round of the PGA Championship earlier this month.
"I feel like my game is coming together," Westwood said. "I've got a bit of a bad back which is going to take a bit of work and try and loosen that up. But maybe for lack of practice -- because I haven't been hitting balls -- will do me good."
Westwood said he is getting treatments on his back and is hopeful it will loosen up.
He came into the week 31st in FedExCup points. A win or second-place finish could move him inside the top 5 going into the BMW Championship.
Westwood shot 68 Saturday and is 3 under with one round to go at Oak Hill. (Greenwood/Getty Images)
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- No active player has more starts in a major -- 61 -- without a victoy in one than Lee Westwood.
Not that he hasn't had his chances.
Sixteen times Westwood has finished in the top 10 in a major. Half of them have been finishes in the top 3, including just last month when he tied for third at The Open Championship.
Saturday at Oak Hill he put himself in position again, shooting a 2-under 68 on a windy, difficult day of scoring at Oak Hill. Westwood is 3 under and inside the top 10 on the leaderboard.
"I can't say I wasn't delighted to see a bit of a breeze blowing this morning," Westwood said. "I didn't want to go out throwing darts out there again. I wanted it to have some teeth to it really."
He got his wish.
With the breeze increasing throughout the day, players who went out early leapfrogged up the leaderboard with every birdie. Westwood made five of them -- and three bogeys -- to climb nearly 20 spots.
The Englishman, who recently began working with coach Sean Foley, had an impressive day of ball-striking, hitting 15 greens in regulation.
And though his score wasn't quite good enough to put him in the lead, the way he was at Muirfield three weeks ago, Westwood is in a good place.
"You saw what happened when I had the lead in the last major and Phil (Mickelson) was four, five behind," Westwood. "So anything is possible on the Sunday of a major."
Lee Westwood is looking for his first major championship title. (Greenwood/Getty Images)
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Lee Westwood didn't go so far as to say he didn't like the way Oak Hill was set up Friday.
But with the rain that fell overnight and continued throughout the morning, the course was playing every bit of the 7,132 yards -- and then some. Just over half an inch fell on Friday and another .37 of an inch on Thursday.
Westwood said the par-4 17th, which measures 510 yards and produced one of his three bogeys in a round of 73, was "really tough" and "unreachable." He also made a double bogey at the eighth hole but managed birdies at Nos. 12 and 14.
"The ball was flying nowhere and it's playing really long," Westwood said. "It's picking up mud, as well. There's a lot of other things to contend with out there today."
Westwood said Tim Clark, who was in his threesome, actually had to lay up on three par 4s -- the aforementioned 17th, No. 18 (which measured 493 yards) and No. 9 (443 yards.)
Despite his double-bogey, bogey finish, Westwood wasn't too disappointed in his performance. He'll start the third round at 1 under and six strokes behind the current leader at the midway point, Adam Scott.
"Yeah, obviously I'd like to finish par, par or better, but red figures going into the weekend, still have a chance," said Westwood, who has finished third or better eight times in majors but is still looking for his first win.
Lee Westwood has finished in the top 3 in seven of his past 16 majors. (Greenwood/Getty Images)
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Lee Westwood hasn't thought much about the recent trend toward first-time winners at the major championships. A total of 14 such breakthroughs in the last 20, to be exact.
The 40-year-old Englishman just knows he wants to add his name to the growing list. After all, he's keeps getting in the hunt -- and even took a two-stroke lead into the final round at Muirfield where the resulting tie for third made it seven top-3s in his last 16 marjos.
"I don't really analyze other people's games or results or things like that," Westwood said. "I just try to concentrate on my own and get my own house in order.
"So I don't know the reason for that, and to be honest, it's not really something I've thought too much about. I just think it shows, really, that thinking about it now, that off the cuff, I just think it shows the depth and strength of golf at the moment. There are a lot of good players playing golf at the moment and major championships are probably harder to win than they ever have been."
Westwood comes to Oak Hill, where he missed the cut in 2003, off a tie for 40th at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. He felt he actually played better tee to green last week than he did at The Open Championship but his putter held him back as he never got the pace of the Firestone greens.
Safe to say Sean Foley's newest client will be seeking out Ian Baker-Finch, his new short-game coach, this week.
"I haven't seen him on the putting green yet, but I saw him last night in the lift, and he gave me a couple of things that we might want to work on," Westwood said with a grin.
Westwood, who sought the counsel of of British sports psychologist Ross Mackenzie both before and after he didn't get the job done at Muirfield, didn't appear particularly concerned at the divergent results in his last two starts. He understands that when changes are made it might take time before consistency returns.
"I think the main reason for finishing third at The Open Championship was that I putted so well," Westwood said. "That's the first time I've putted well in I don't know how long. It seems to be what everybody else does every week, so that's a level of consistency that I've got to try to get to on the greens.
"Like you say, I've been making a lot of changes and working on a lot of different things, so there's no surprise really that there was a significant difference between the Open and last week; until changes take effect, then you're going to be a little bit inconsistent. I think it's probably a combination of all three."
Lee Westwood has eight top-three finishes in majors since 2008. (Carr/Getty Images)
Lee Westwood moved to Florida before this season to aid his quest for his first major championship. He gave himself a great chance to claim that first title at a Grand Slam event, but couldn’t convert a two-shot lead after 54 holes into a victory.
He shot 4-over 75 on Sunday instead, finishing in third place with Ian Poulter and Adam Scott at 1-over 285, four shots behind winner Phil Mickelson.
"I'm not too disappointed," Westwood said. "I don't really get disappointed with golf anymore."
Westwood, 40, now has eight top-three finishes in 62 majors, all since 2008, when he finished a shot outside the Tiger Woods-Rocco Mediate playoff at Torrey Pines. Westwood, a former world No. 1, recently enlisted former Open Championship winner Ian Baker-Finch as a putting adviser and Sean Foley as a swing instructor.
“I putted lovely this week. I made my fair share,” Westwood said. “So there was a lot of positives to take out. I didn't really feel like I had my "A" game. I didn't feel like I was striking the ball well. I was amazed to be in the lead going into the fourth round, because every time I turned into the wind I was really struggling.
Westwood made his only birdie of the final round at the par-5 fifth hole, which he played 5 under for the week. He followed with bogeys at Nos. 7, 8, 13 and 16, though. He had plugged lies in bunkers on Nos. 7-9, resulting in two bogeys and a par at the reachable par-5 ninth hole.
“I didn't really play well enough today,” Westwood said. “I didn't play badly, but I didn't play great. It's a tough golf course, and you've got to have your ‘A’ game. I missed a few shots out there.”
Westwood also held the 54-hole lead at the 2010 Masters, which Mickelson won. Westwood shot 71 to finish three shots back.
"I wouldn't have done anything different for breakfast, or carried three markers in the pocket instead of two," Westwood said. "I never second-guess myself. So there's no point in doing it, you just do what feels right at the time."
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
GULLANE, Scotland -- Stewart Cink says Lee Westwood's biggest challenge on Sunday during the final round of The Open Championship will be not getting ahead of himself.
Cink, who shot a 69 on Sunday, won his first -- and so far, only -- major when he beat Tom Watson in a playoff at Turnberry in 1999, a playoff that Westwood came within a putt of joining. The former Open champ says the Englishman has definitely played well enough to deserve a major -- or more.
"The only thing that's standing in his way today is that thing between the ear that holds us all back occasionally," Cink said. "It's a tough prospect when you're leading, having never won, and have the monkey on your back, so to speak, and be free and continue to do what you're doing without thinking about getting ahead of yourself, thinking about what may lie at the end of the 18th green.
"So that will be his biggest challenge out there today with the conditions being a little more tame."
And what about Tiger Woods? What are his chances of winning his first major since the 2008 U.S. Open?
"I think you're bordering on waking the sleeping giant when you start bothering him about something like that," Cink said. "I include myself in your group, we have bothered Tiger a lot about things over the years, and he seems to come through just fine. He will be definitely a force to be reckoned with out there."
So does it surprise Cink that Woods hasn't added to his major haul of 14 in the last five years?
"It does but think about what he's been through in five years, to me it's remarkable that he got back to where he is, No. 1 in the world," Cink said. "Because he had a serious blow to that aura of invincibility. And he just is proving that that's not all he had. He's the best golfer that's ever played, as far as I'm concerned."
Cink is 40, as it Westwood. Woods is three years younger. But fitness, better nutrition and advances in equipment have lengthened careers considerably -- "especially these days, guys are just hitting their stride," Cink says.
"The only thing that I think is a negative as you get older is that you accumulate more of the negative stuff in your mind, the scars kind of build up," Cink said. "And golf will deal you a few of those. ... In golf knowing who you are on the golf course, I think, means a lot more than probably it does to any other athlete in any other sport."
GULLANE, Scotland (AP) -- Lee Westwood is the leader going to the final round of the British Open.
Seeking the first major title of his career, the 40-year-old Englishman curled in a 60-foot eagle putt on the way to a 1-under 70 Saturday that put him two strokes ahead of Tiger Woods and Hunter Mahan.
Westwood has been a perennial contender in majors, finishing second or third a staggering seven times. But he's never been able to finish the job.
He'll try to do it Sunday at baked-out Muirfield.
Westwood made eagle at the fifth hole, and pulled three shots ahead of the field on the front side. Woods fought back and was even with Westwood going to the 17th. But Westwood made a birdie and Woods a sloppy bogey for a two-shot swing.