Lee Westwood will attempt to tee it up in today's first round of the French Open despite being taken to hospital yesterday with a feared blood clot. Having survived his health scare, the world No 3 is plainly intent on getting in his warm-up for the Open, which begins in a fortnight's time.
Last night's news was greeted by relief on the European Tour. Not only is Westwood the main draw in this week's event, but he will be the principle home hope of ending Britain's 11-year drought in its own major. As he was driven away from Le National Golf yesterday morning alongside his wife, Laurae, the concern for the 37-year-old was obvious.
Westwood had arrived in Versailles on Tuesday complaining of pain and swelling in his right calf. When he awoke yesterday the pain had intensified and the swelling extended to his ankle. Stuart Cage, a member of his management company, said: "It was a classic sign of DVT and because of the amount of travelling he does, Lee wasn't taking any chances. The doctor on site agreed and told him to get himself to hospital for tests immediately."
Fortunately, the diagnosis was as positive as could be hoped. "The hospital decided there's no DVT and that the problem has something to do with a reaction to the heat," said Cage. "Lee is going to have an anti-inflammatory dressing put on the muscle and, if he rests up tonight, then hopefully the swelling will go down and he will be able to play tomorrow afternoon. He will go to the course in the morning and make a decision then."
Certainly, Westwood requires the outing as he has decided to skip next week's Scottish Open at Loch Lomond. Although he is due to play in the JP McManus Pro-Am in Limerick next Monday and Tuesday, Westwood would not have wanted to go into the campaign's third major without a competitive event.
In the last few seasons he has become a mainstay on the major leaderboards – finishing in the top three in the three majors which preceded last month's US Open, where he came 16th – and puts at least some of his success down to remaining so active and performing so well in the build-ups. Last year in France, he was denied by Martin Kaymer in a play-off, a result which propelled him into Turnberry. At 12-1 only Tiger Woods is rated a better shot to prevail in the 150th anniversary of the Open.
If and when Westwood makes it to the first tee today he may find a scene not too dissimilar to the set of M.A.S.H. He was not the only one who was forced to abandon the sweltering links-type layout yesterday. Ian Poulter will also have a health check before setting out after an insect bite sustained in practice at Woburn on Monday became infected and he was put on a course of antibiotics. "Hopefully I'll be OK," said Poulter, one of four of the world's top 10 in the field this week. "But walking for five hours is not going to do it any good and nor is the heat."
Alas, it is destined to be another busy day in the treatment truck. Colin Montgomerie is still suffering his torn calf muscle and Achilles strain and also pulled out of the pro-am, as too did Matteo Manassero. The 17-year-old Italian was hit on the hand by a stray shot while he was practising on Tuesday.
* Tiger Woods plays in today's first round of the AT&T Championship in Philadelphia. It will be the world No 1's final competitive event before the Open, although he does tee it up in next week's JP McManus Pro-Am in Limerick.