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April 3 2012

5:43 PM

Westwood: ‘There’s more’ than just two

Interview: Lee Westwood

The 2010 Masters runner-up meets the media on Tuesday at Augusta National.

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Lee Westwood said he hadn't seen the article that suggested the rivalry between Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy is the only storyline in golf right now. He probably hadn't seen the cover to the newest Golf World, either, you know, the one with the aforementioned protagonists depicted as boxers.

"I don't really read anything, to be perfectly honest," Westwood said with a shrug. "... We all know what articles like that are, basically.

"But, you know, Rory has never won here. Tiger's not won here since 2005. So I think everybody in this room would have to be naïve to think it was a two horse race, wouldn't they? There's more. I think Phil (Mickelson) might have a little bit of something to say about that; Luke (Donald) might; I might.
   
"Can I use the 'it is what it is?'"

At the same time, Westwood knows Woods' recent victory has only added to excitement that attends the season's first major championship. Donald and McIlroy have jockeyed back-and-forth as World No. 1 in the last five weeks. And Mickelson comes to Augusta National, where he has won three times, with a 2012 victory under his belt.

Westwood, the world No. 3 who finished fourth in his first two starts as a 2012 PGA TOUR member, understands the excitement. But personally, the affable Brit, who finished second to Phil Mickelson in 2010, had a different outlook.

"I'm not so excited that everybody is playing well, obviously,’ he said with a big grin, his tongue fully in-cheek. “I wish that everybody was playing poorly. … “

Then Westwood turned more serious. "It's great for the game of golf and the Masters Tournament that it's been such a good run into it with the top players winning big events and Tiger coming back into form,” he said. “It's whipped up a bit of a frenzy, I suppose."

Westwood comes to Augusta after playing in the Shell Houston Open. He opened with a solid 68 but didn't break 70 in the next three rounds and ended up in a tie for 21st at 7 under. Still, he was pleased to have a few rounds of competition under his belt.

"I'm pleased having played last week after having two weeks off, because I don't practice a lot when I'm at home, and I didn't get a chance to play or practice because the weather is pretty miserable back in England at this time of year," Westwood explained.

"So it was good to play in Houston last week and shake off a bit of rust and be competitive going into this week. I wouldn't want three weeks off and then have to play competitively on Thursday.  I feel far happier having three days off and being competitive on Thursday."

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