Westwood lines up place in history books

After his long-overdue victory in Memphis on Sunday, Lee Westwood awoke here on the Monterey peninsula yesterday with a few more firsts to tick off on an ever-more realistic wish-list.

Not only is the Englishman vying to become the first European to win the US Open in 40 years but he will also be trying to become the first player in history to lift the trophy having prevailed the week before. And all this in the company of the man who happened to triumph by 15 strokes the last time America's national championship was held here.

Except everybody knows that the Tiger of 2010 is not the Woods of 2000 and most in the game accept that Westwood is just as unrecognisable. With top-three finishes in the last three majors, the 37-year-old has established himself as a big-time performer, albeit without the golfing Oscar he deserves. "The reason I've been knocking on the door so often in the majors recently is because I've finally learned the knack of how to peak for them," said the world No 3.

Could it be Westwood peaked a week early with his play-off victory over Robert Karlsson in the St Jude Classic? It was not the question to be asking a pro celebrating his first American trophy in a dozen years. Alas the record books are not so diplomatic. Only eight players have ever backed up in the majors - and nobody has yet done so in the major known as the game's toughest. "That is of absolutely no concern to me," said Westwood, who will also be joined by Ernie Els in Thursday's marquee three-ball. "I like being competitive before a major and to win will only boost my confidence. Obviously, Memphis was a little bit draining, especially with the temperature there. But because I've done most of my preparation, I can take it easy for the next three days."

Yes, Westwood is very thankful for the reconnaissance trip he made here last Sunday and Monday when he and Billy Foster, his caddie cum plotter-in chief, played 45 holes. "I just don't turn up any more and spend three or four days bashing my brains out to learn as much as I can about the course," he explained. "It meant I was almost 'golfed out' by the time the tape went up. No longer and not here. When I looked at the four majors at the start of the year, I felt straight away Pebble would offer me my best chance. So having gone so close at Augusta [where he finished second], I'm entitled to look forward to a big week at the US Open." Him and his country, both.

What an American campaign this has so far been for England. Just think, before 2010 they had never boasted two winners in the same PGA Tour season. Here we are in June and they already have three. Not only that but with Justin Rose victorious in Memphis eight days ago, they have knocked two off in successive weeks. Little wonder the English have arrived here so confident of breaking their 14-year major drought. In Westwood there is such an impressive flag-bearer.

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own