Poulter Backs Westwood
By Torleif Sorenson on 7/23/13
Lee Westwood may have missed out at another major championship, but one of his countrymen is convinced that Westwood still has what it takes to win a major.

Specifically, Ian Poulter said this:
"Lee has plenty more years left. If he keeps putting himself in position he is going to be able to get his hands on one of them for sure. He is too good a player not to. The pressure is there so that every time he gets himself in position it is difficult because everyone wants him to win and he wants to win even more. There's a lot of pressure he puts on himself.

"I am sure if he keeps working the way he is and keeps improving, then it is going to come."
After a short bit of analysis, this writer is convinced that Ian Poulter is correct.
  • Westwood has top-ten finishes in 11 of the last 23 majors. In the same time-frame, the nine golfers above Westwood in the Official World Golf Rankings stack up this way:

    • Tiger Woods also has 11.
    • Phil Mickelson, the new world #2, now has 10.
    • Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott have six.
    • Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker, and Luke Donald have five.
    • Justin Rose and Graeme McDowell have four.

  • Among Westwood's 11 top-tens, he has two second-place finishes.

  • He also has six third-place finishes, including the T-3 on Sunday at the Open Championship.

  • Westwood has a total of 39 professional victories, including 22 on the European Tour and two on the PGA Tour.
These statistics are not the reflection of ineptitude. Golf fans and writers everywhere wondered whether Phil Mickelson would ever win a major before he won the 2004 Masters Tournament — that was nine years ago. These major championship fields are strong, but so is Lee Westwood. Yes, he shot 75 on Sunday, but that was following rounds of 72 and 68 on two brutal days, following by a one-under-par 70 on Saturday.

I may have been wrong about Nathan breaking 70 on Sunday, but I'm reasonably certain, based on Westwood's performances and statistics, that he will win a major before turning 50.

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Image via Flickr, Eugene Goh

[ comments ]
mjaber says:
"that he will will a major before turning 50"

I think if he could will it, he would have already won one.
mustang6560 says:
As Rich Lerner said during Live From Muirfield last week, "Majors aren't conferred. They're earned." It's a shame Westy stalled Sunday. I really wanted him to win.
GolfSmith7 says:
I was hoping he won too so I can sell his autograph hat that I won lol
mjaber says:
He seems to be a streaky putter. I think if he can get on a roll, he'll be able to take one, or he might just back into one when the leader falters and he's already in the clubhouse.

Either way, I think Poulter is going to get one before him.
Matt Otskey says:
I don't believe Lee will ever win a major. He will always make a crucial mistake on Sunday. In the 13 majors since 2009 that he finished T-15 or better, his average Sunday score is 71.2 with only one of those 13 rounds being in the 60's (68 at 2011 PGA Championship). Bottom line is you need to play well on Sunday to win a major. So far, he has failed to do so.
GBogey says:
From his interviews he seems to be a really good guy, but from his play he seems to lack that special "it" factor that could get him over the top. I think too many players these days may have "it", including Poulter.
joe jones says:
I sure hope you are right about him winning. We already have one great player from the kingdom that never won a major (Colin Montgomery)so we don't need another one. His short putting under pressure has always been a problem. Ge is such a fine ball striker if he has one good tournament where he putts well he should be able to do it.
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