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."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
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

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices