FILE PHOTO: Mar 13, 2021; Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, USA; Lee Westwood reacts to his putt on the 17th green during the third round of The Players Championship golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass - Stadium Course. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
March 18, 2021
By Frank Pingue
(Reuters) – Lee Westwood is in the middle of an impressive run that has left him “drained” but the Englishman, who will seek a maiden major title at next month’s Masters, said on Wednesday he never contemplated skipping this week’s Honda Classic.
Westwood posted his second consecutive runner-up finish in as many weeks on Sunday and then visited Augusta National where he played 36 holes on Monday and 18 on Tuesday in preparation for the April 8-11 Masters.
“I’m a little bit tired, I must admit. I feel a little bit drained. My legs are feeling it a little bit,” world number 19 Westwood said in a video conference from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, where the Honda Classic begins on Thursday.
“I suppose I’m not expecting too much this week, but I’m not really — I don’t know what to expect from myself at the moment. I’m obviously coming off two good results and my game feels good.”
Westwood, a former world number one who turns 48 next month, squandered the 54-hole lead for a second consecutive week on Sunday at the Players Championship and later admitted that age was catching up with him.
But Westwood said taking this week off to recharge never entered his mind, as he used to live in the area, has a good relationship with the tournament director and considers it one of his favourite stops on tour.
The Englishman has won two PGA Tour events — but none since 2010 — and 42 others around the world and is undoubtedly eager to showcase his recent form at the year’s first major, where he is a two-time runner-up.
Westwood played Augusta National this week with his son Sam, who will caddie for him at the Masters, and said the course was very challenging.
“I will say it’s as hard as I’ve seen Augusta play, even when it’s been the week of the Masters,” said Westwood, adding that temperatures were around 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 Celsius).
“It was playing long, and the greens were like rock. They were really releasing out. It was a tough couple of days to play Augusta.”
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)