February 27 2013
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- When Lee Westwood pitched the idea of moving to the U.S. to his family, he wasn't met with much resistance.
"It wasn't a tough sell," said Westwood, who settled just down the road at Old Palm in the offseason. "Do you want to go and live by the sea and the sun by a beach? It was a pretty quick take‑up."
Now Westwood is hoping the decision will pay off inside the ropes.
Twice in the last three years, Westwood has finished in the top 10 at The Honda Classic. The 39-year-old has 22 career wins on the European Tour but just two on the PGA TOUR -- and zero majors.
"We were driving down the road, me and (agent) Chubby Chandler, and I said, 'I could live here for sure,'" said Westwood, who finished fourth here a year ago after a final-round 63. "I expect to feel better this year because of less travel and less going through time zones. The older you get, the harder it is to sort of get your head around that."
Westwood also became frustrated with the winters in England, where the weather limited his practice.
"Not being able to work as hard as I would like, and coming out at the start of the year, really feeling too rusty," continued Westwood, who now counts ISM stablemates Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen among his neighbors. "I wanted to come and live in the sunshine"
At Old Palm, Westwood & Co. has a top-notch practice facility that includes a 33-acre double-ended range, four practice holes, a large short-game area, a TrackMan hitting bay and a golf studio.
Not that he doesn't miss England.
"Cricket, rugby, football," he said.
Just not the weather.
"I probably get more football on TV here than we do back in England," Westwood said. "They can't show it at 3 o'clock on a Saturday in England because they are trying to get people to go to the games, but here it's on at 10 o'clock in the morning which seems like a much more reasonable time to watch football.
"I must watch a fair bit because my wife moans at me about it. 'Not football on again' is often heard in my house."
At least now he can leave and go practice.
"I can practice every aspect of my game," Westwood said. "And I get to do it in shorts, whereas it would have been waterproofs this time of year in England."