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."