Smiting Drives - Westwood Ready to Flex His Muscle
02 Nov 2010 - 07:56:58
Golf has a new World No. 1, and its first English premier since Sir Nick Faldo in 1994. But while Lee Westwood will publicly bask in the glow for as long as it lasts, his coronation has only magnified the glaring omission from his impressive CV.
When will Westy win a major?
Twenty European Tour titles, two US Tour wins and seven swashbuckling Ryder Cup appearances surely make it a matter of when, not if.
But will ending Tiger Woods' 281-week reign at the top of the rankings give the 37-year-old the confidence to make it over it line? Or add to the weight of expectancy that's grown with every near-miss?
On the evidence of Westwood's performance at Celtic Manor, he's in the best mental shape of his career. Those who witnessed the 6&5 hammering he and Luke Donald handed to Woods and Steve Stricker would have thought the 14-times major winner was in European colours that afternoon.
As for his physical condition, Westwood's manager Chubby Chandler has spoken this week about his player's pride in those bulging muscles he's been working on for four years now.
"He is massively strong," Chandler told the Guardian. "He benches more than 100kg. We will soon be seeing pictures of him in the gym posing for pictures covered in baby oil.
"You have to have the discipline to do it, which Lee has. He enjoys it. He likes the results of it. He carries himself totally differently. You go round to his house when he has done a lot of training and he is always wearing a vest, or he's pulled his tee shirt tight across his arms."
It's certainly not the image of Westwood we're used to, but it's been a necessary evolution in his path to World No. 1 and hopefully a victory at the majors.
But for a majestic Phil Mickelson at Augusta this year he would have one already, but the hugely popular Englishman is more confident than ever that when the moment comes next he'll be ready.
"Winning major championships is something you learn to do," he said.
"You get yourself in a position as often as possible and you learn from the things you maybe could have done a little bit better. I'm at the age now where I've been through most things so the next time I get in there and have a chance I'll know what to do."
Here's hoping his elevated status will give Westwood the belief that his fans and everybody in the game has shared for some time. He's simply too good to go without a win at the majors.