Westwood bullies way to £1.65m

Englishman shoots course record 64 to lift Dubai title and win the Order of Merit

If ever a sporting performance could be deemed worthy of £1.65m then surely Lee Westwood provided it in winning both the Dubai World Championship and the Order of Merit yesterday. He arrived in the desert determined to bully his less experienced rivals into submission and managed to do so quite savagely. Westwood barely allowed anyone else a peek of the biggest payday in the history of British golf, including Rory McIlroy, who came with such dreams but left with such a reality check.

The Englishman's final round was the best of the week and probably the European year – a course-record 64. Westwood wore Tiger Woods' Sunday red and gave it Tiger's Sunday best. Westwood began the day two clear and by the time he tapped in on the 18th he had extended his advantage to six. He did not miss a fairway in regulation, he did not miss a green in regulation, in four nerve-free hours.

The 36-year-old credited it as "the best performance of my career". By the side of the green his friend Andrew Flintoff was leading the applause and Westwood honoured the Ashes hero by arching his back, spreading his arms and throwing his back to look to the heavens – Lord's-style. "I thought Freddie would laugh at that," grinned Westwood. In truth, everybody laughed at it. Perhaps everybody except a shellshocked McIlroy.

The 20-year-old – who held a £115,000 lead before this season-ender – was the chief victim of the Westwood game plan, formulated by his caddie, Billy Foster. "He told me at the beach party on Tuesday evening I'd been paying too much attention to the other players," said Westwood. "He told me you've won more tournaments than the other three guys [McIlroy, Ross Fisher and Martin Kaymer] trying to win the money list put together.

"He told me, 'You've been out here 16 years and that's longer than the three of them put together'. Although it's a terrible word to use he told me, 'You've got to bully them off the golf course'. I felt I did that. It was a massive feather in my cap the first day when Rory said he was glad to get away from me. There's nothing worse for Rory to say and nothing better for me to hear than a competitor to say they're glad they're not playing with me."

Westwood's words might have been cruel, but as he put it, "Rory will learn from this". He then added with trademark dryness: "He's 20, is a millionaire already, hits it miles, has a nice-looking girlfriend, drives a Lamborghini – yeah, it's hard isn't it?" As it was, the Ulsterman's display was far from gutless, his 67 leapfrogging him into third place. There was one unsavoury moment when McIlroy took out his frustrations on an advertising hoarding on the seventh, hitting it with his wedge so hard it emerged on the other side. Maybe, he could be excused that as he watched his ambition of becoming the second-youngest winner of the Order of Merit going up in woodchip.

Another Englishman, Ross McGowan, split the two protagonists with an impressive 68 which more than doubled his earnings for the season to £1.4m. It is a shame more will not be made of McGowan's feat, because in Westwood's words, the largely unknown 27-year-old "played incredibly". But there we are. Westwood's day in the sun put everyone in the shade. And nobody was to begrudge it. "Lee deserves it, he's been in a different class here," said a clearly disconsolate McIlroy. "He's been through the highs and then the lows and now's back in the world's top five."

Westwood, himself, talked of the dramatic slump he suffered in 2002, two years after his first Order of Merit win, when he fell out of the world's top 250 – "I've been through a lot. I know what it feels like to play poorly week after week." But it was a more recent distress which played out in his mind as he led down the stretch. "After Turnberry in July I was as disappointed as I've ever been in my career," said Westwood, thinking back to the final-hole bogey which denied him a place in the play-off. "The Open is the most important tournament to me and it felt like, and still does, a championship I should have won.

"But I tried to draw confidence from it and be ready for the next time. Today felt like similar pressure and I tried to react differently to how I did at Turnberry. I had nothing but positive thoughts out there."

His score of 23 under exceeded the expectations of the course designer, Greg Norman, who predicted a winning number of 18 under. Not too shabby, considering the wind blew on Friday and Saturday. Westwood did not record a single bogey all weekend. It was Tigeresque, in both its execution and its mood. The comparison was not lost on the new world No 4. "If that's how Tiger feels every week I'd love to be him, yeah," said Westwood. Can he dare to aim so high? "Anything is attainable, but overhauling Tiger at No 1 would obviously be unbelievably difficult," admitted Westwood. "But I think second is definitely attainable."

All he needs is a major and on this showing that prospect must be described as probable rather than possible. Westwood was the quality of champion which the Dubai World Championship craved. A player whose peerless play at least made the winning of £3.8m in a single European season seem less absurd than it should.

Winning on Merit: Final standings

*End of season European Tour "Race to Dubai" money list:

1 (3) Lee Westwood (Eng) £3,776,702

2 (36) Rory McIlroy (NIrl) £3,217,257

3 (8) Martin Kaymer (Ger) £2,552,707

4 (6) Ross Fisher (Eng) £2,255,795

5 (21) Paul Casey (Eng) £2,105,863

6 (-) Geoff Ogilvy (Aus) £1,963,152

7 (11) Oliver Wilson (Eng) £1,791,457

8 (55) Simon Dyson (Eng) £1,611,072

9 (19) Ian Poulter (Eng) £1,580,519

10 (9) Sergio Garcia (Sp) £1,480,097

(Last season's positions in brackets)

Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly finalists Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridge
tvLive: Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridge face-off in the final
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
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

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture