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The Tour Report

March 29 2011

4:10 PM

Westwood: A win would be nice

Interview: Lee Westwood

Lee Westwood talks about his goals this week and the overall strength and unpredictability of pro golf.

HUMBLE, Texas -- What does Lee Westwood look for the week before a major? "A win would be good,'' he said grinning. No joke. It’s been almost a year since his last win -- at the 2010 St. Jude Classic -- but this is the time of year he normally starts playing well. And, well, he did finish in a tie for eighth at last year’s Shell Houston Open. This week, he’ll play with Phil Mickelson and defending champ Anthony Kim in the first two rounds in the Shell Houston Open’s power pairing. And, yes, he’s here to win. Even if his mind is already on next week’s Masters. “Seriously,’’ said the world No. 2. “Try to win the Shell Houston Open and that would be great and then take a lot of confidence going into next week, to play well, hit a lot of good shots. “Take the form that -- the way I've been hitting the ball on the range, even the way I've been striking, possibly the short game I've been working on the last two weeks. I've seen a big improvement since the three weeks I was there last. I've taken it to the golf course and played solidly.’’ He’s been in Houston practicing since Sunday. “I feel like I'm playing well, my game is in good shape, all of it seems pretty sharp,’’ he said. Westwood missed the final major last year with an injury, but he finished with a share of third at the 2009 PGA Championship, second at the 2010 Masters and British Open and T-16 at the U.S. Open. And, oh, that little run helped push him to No. 1 in the world last October, a ranking he held until Martin Kaymer leapfrogged him last month. He took No. 1 and falling to No. 2 in stride. “You look at it when you're No. 1,’’ he said, drawing a laugh. “ It really doesn't have that much relevance. It's great to go out there. It's something you see and you're very proud of it at the time but I think everybody's attention in that part of the world rankings right now would be towards next week and getting ready for that and being in the best shape possible come Thursday.’’ And, yes, people look at you differently when you’re No. 1. “Everybody mentions it. I think you get to the stage where people want your opinion a lot more on various things, not just golf,’’ he said, laughing. “Not that I'm qualified on much more than golf. It's very time-consuming.’’ One thing to note: He’s thinking of putting a new putter in his bag this week. “I haven’t been particularly happy over the first couple of months of the season with the old one,’’ he said. “This one is a bit easier to line up.’’ -- Melanie Hauser