The Open 2013: Major 'positives' for Lee Westwood but Tiger Woods speeds to the excuses

Westwood let a two-shot lead slip away as Phil Mickelson pulls-off the 'best round of my career'

Having played in 61 of golf’s Majors over a period of 17 years, finishing second twice but never capturing one of the sports four top titles Lee Westwood has become something of a specialist in ways of playing down expressions of disappointment.

And despite the huge let down of  signing for a 75 after going into the last round at Muirfield with a two shot lead last night he put on the bravest of faces in front of the media with not the slightest hint of a self pity.

“I am not too disappointed,” he said. “I don’t really get disappointed with golf any more. I am a philosophical person and it doesn’t wind me up or get to me any more.

“My assessment of the week ? Great. I finished top three in a Major Championship. I would have liked to have won but you can’t not take positives from top three in a Major.

“You always want to be last off on Sunday in a Major Championship. And for me to be last off in The Open Championship was probably a new experience. I don’t think that’s happened before and I really enjoyed it. It's obviously where any professional golfer want to be.”

However when Westwood was asked about his shortcomings in a round that contained five bogeys and only one birdie he did run through six holes where he hit poor drives which either found Muirfield’s knee length rough or one of  its many steep faced bunkers.

“I didn’t play really well enough today,” he admitted. “I didn’t play badly but I didn’t play great. It’s a tough golf course and you have got to have your 'A' game out there. I missed a few shots.”

If Westwood was not going to win a lot of money was laid beside Tiger Woods name but he could only shoot a 74 and rather than blame himself for extending a run without winning a Major that now stretches back to 2008 he offered veiled criticism for the way the course was set up by the Royal and Ancient.

Early in the week it had been hard, fast and brutal after Scotland'S recent heatwave. Yesterday Muirfield was covered in overhead clouds and after hand watering the previous two nights some of the fierce bite had been taken from it.

“I had a hard time adjusting to the speeds,” he said. “ The greens were much slower today, much softer and I don’t think I got too many putts to the hole today. I really had a hard time and left myself a couple of long lag putts early on.

“It was frustrating. I played well. I could just never get the speed right. We started on the first day and it progressively got slower. And that’s usually the opposite at tournaments – it usually gets fast as the week goes on but this week was different.

“But I am very pleased with the way I am playing. There’s no doubt I am right here. I hit a ton of good shots this week and the only thing that I would look back on is that I just never got the speed after the first day.”

There were similar stories of shortcoming Masters winner Adam Scott but they were accompanied of an appreciation of the way winner Phil Mickelson covered the final nine holes in just 32 shots making four birdies over the last six holes when tricky winds were blowing off the nearby Firth of Forth.

And the left hander knew he had achieved something extra special just a week after winning the Scottish Open. “This is just an amazing feeling winning this great championship and to play probably the best round of my career.

“Winning Castle Stuart (his first win in the UK) at the time was a big win for me but in seven days it has gone down considerably. But it gave me the confidence heading  into this week , it was exactly what I need to propel me into this Championship. It gave me the confidence that I could play some of my best golf on links conditions.”

Thanking his family and caddy for their support and his coach Butch Harmon for a lesson on the range on Friday, Mickelson was also pleased to have bounced back so quickly after losing a third round lead on the final day of the US Open at Merion last month.

“It’s a huge difference in emotions as you can imagine,” he said in a message that Westwood would understand. “You have to be resilient in this game because losing is such a big part of it. After losing the US Open it could easily have gone south where I was so deflated but I looked at it and thought I had been playing some really good golf and I didn’t want it to stop me from some potential victories this year.”

After the platitudes offered by the winner and the big named losers it was left to 18-year-old Matt Fitzpatrick, the Yorkshireman who won the silver medal as best amateur, who proved the best story of the after Open press conferences.

Asked about the support he gets from members at the Hallamshire golf club he said : “ I think I am a bit more popular now because they managed to move the TV in the clubhouse from the spike bar to the main lounge which has been a problem for a while.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable