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."