Westwood turns to psychologist in attempt to break major duck

 

Enough is enough for Lee Westwood. After more than a decade of resisting the urge and bucking the trend of the overwhelming majority of his rivals, the world No 2 is finally seeing a sports psychologist. And the fact he has already had a session with Bob Rotella, the celebrated mind doctor who inspired Darren Clarke to glory at the Open three weeks ago, will not be lost on many.

Nor, indeed, will the news that Westwood, after years of going to his father and coach Pete Cowen for putting advice, has sought the stewardship of Dave Stockton, as he prepares for next week's USPGA Championship. He just happens to be the guru who Rory McIlroy went to after his Masters meltdown in April and who proceeded to be credited with having so much influence on the young Ulsterman's stunning US Open victory two months later.

Both Clarke and McIlroy are Westwood's stable-mates, so it would be fair to assume he has taken the hint and gone to the two men who helped them to make their major breakthroughs. Not so, says the Englishman, who with five top-three finishes in his last eight majors easily holds the tag of "best player yet to win a major".

"No, I'd actually been thinking about it for a while," Westwood told The Independent at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational in Akron yesterday. "I was with Bob on Sunday in Britain. The last time I sat down with him was more than 10 years ago, when I had an hour with him. Yeah, what he had to say was very interesting."

Westwood's admission will raise a few eyebrows, if only because of his recent declaration when asked why he did not follow the same mental route as his colleagues. "I've never felt like I've needed a sports psychologist," he said, almost exactly two years ago this week. "I've always felt quite mentally stable. No, look at them all. They all look a bit odd to me, like they're the ones who need to see somebody."

But now, after so many close misses, Westwood has taken the plunge with the man known simply as "Dr Bob", who as well as Clarke's Claret Jug also has Padraig Harrington's three majors on his CV. And although many will look at the last five majors – in which two more of the ISM stable, Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen, have also won – and deduce that this is a desperate throw of the dice, Westwood quite fairly puts it in the context of his meticulous preparations.

"I cover most bases, so that's somewhere I've not really explored," said the 38-year-old, who refused to skip a planned gym session to watch his horse, Hoof It, win the Stewards Cup at Goodwood on Saturday. "So I want to see if it helps. The mind's a massive part of the game isn't it? So it makes sense to see someone who knows what they're talking about. Why didn't I do it before? I don't know. Like I always said, I just didn't feel as if I needed it."

It is a similar story with his putting. Westwood will always listen to his father, John, when it comes to his motion on the short stuff, but his woeful showing on the greens at the Open, where he somehow missed the cut despite leading the tee-to-greens stats, plainly motivated him to seek another voice. Stockton, the former Ryder Cup captain, certainly did the trick with McIlroy before Congressional and although the light did not instantly flick on in the same manner, Westwood was positive. "He had some interesting ideas," he said. "He threw a lot at me so it's just a case of sifting out stuff I like."

For his part, Stockton believes he has found Westwood's problem. Together with his son, David Jnr, they enjoyed a session with Westwood here on Monday. "He tended to be very mechanical," said Stockton. "And so seeing Rotella tied into what we were telling him – to let it go and not be thinking."

With that in mind, the first thing the Stocktons asked Westwood to do for them was sign his autograph. "We told him 'you have to make up your mind that you're going to putt like you write your signature,'" said Stockton Snr. "Lee just laughed. He had a wonderful attitude. He was great to work with."

Sport
Brazilian fans watch the match for third place between Brazil and Netherlands
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: Dutch pile on the misery in third place playoff
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
News
Soft power: Matthew Barzun
peopleThe US Ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun, holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence. He says it's all part of the job
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?