Lee Westwood: My near miss at The Open takes me closer to first major

Briton says that improved equipment and fitness mean he can have many more shots at a big one

Lee Westwood has revealed the exact moment at Muirfield on Sunday when he realised that his chances of achieving his long-awaited first major title had slipped away.

But rather than resent the late charge through the leaderboard by Phil Mickelson he believes the American’s performance is evidence that his own time to win one of golf’s big four annual tournaments will still come.

Having had 48 hours to analyse the dramatic events on the southern bank of the Firth of Forth, Westwood said yesterday: “I realised the tournament had got away from me on the 15th green.

“Phil was going up the last at that stage at two-under and that’s not the easiest par. I was on level and hit the ball straight at the pin at 15 and got a bit unlucky, but still had a birdie run at it.

“But then I’d heard he’d birdied 18 and then I missed my birdie putt, I was three behind and thought ‘well, these last three holes aren’t really all birdie chances’.

“And I bogeyed 16. I just struggled into the wind all week. I bet you of all the bogeys I made all bar one were on holes into the wind. I just get a bit scrappy. I wasn’t anywhere near my A game.”

Ironically, Westwood was talking at the Close House Hotel near Newcastle where his first venture into course design was being unveiled. But there was no hint that, at the age of 40, he is imminently considering a full-time career switch in the golf industry.

Having seen Mickelson pick up his first Claret Jug at the age of 43, the Briton believes he could be competing for majors for another decade. “Players are looking after themselves now,” Westwood said.

“Technology has helped to a certain extent. Twenty years ago you got to 40 and your game started to drop off because technology didn’t help at all. I think I’m quite mentally strong to keep ploughing away. Mentally strong or just thick really.

“Look at Miguel  Angel Jimenez, he was leading the Open at 49 and he’d just broken his leg! Why put age limits on it all? Now I don’t think it’s a case of if you are physically fit. It’s if you are mentally thick.

“If you still have the hunger for it and the resilience or whether you just toss it in. But I don’t see finishing third in the Open as a career nearly over. That’s more like, ‘Oh, I’ve still got it’.

“What do I do? Walk away, when I’ve had so many top threes in the last few years? Twelve years ago I was playing crap and that’s when you are really frustrated and feel like walking away. Not when you’re having top threes in major championships. You don’t feel like walking away then. You feel like finding that little bit where you need to improve.”

Westwood did admit that one day he would like to become a European Ryder Cup captain but for the immediate future working on his golf ahead of next month’s Bridgestone WGC and the USPGA Championship – the final major of the year– remain his priority.

And having had a 45-minute putting lesson with the 1991 Open Champion, Australia’s Ian Baker-Finch, before travelling to Muirfield he believes he has turned an important corner in his career.

“I’m pleased I’ve turned my putting and short game around,” he said. “That’s the best I’ve putted in quite a while over three or four consecutive days. Even on Sunday, I putted nice.”

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Sport
The giant banner displayed by Legia Warsaw supporters last night
football Polish side was ejected from Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
news
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone