Westwood seeks major glory

2012-01-25 15:25

Abu Dhabi - It is a case of a new year but the same old question-mark hanging over Lee Westwood - will he ever manage to win one of the four major titles?

It is not that he has never come close, having finished runner-up at both the Masters and the Open and third at the US Open and PGA Championship in the last three years.

But at a time when he also rose to the world number one ranking, that elusive first major has remained beyond his grasp and at 38 years old, time is not on his side.

Still, the Englishman, who starts his season at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship here this week, believes that he is on the right track and he is determined to stick to his guns.

"I'm quite happy with the way the majors have gone over the last few years," he said. "I've got myself into contention, which is really all you can ask for.

"You can't sort of focus and make yourself win a major championship. All you can do is get into position and try and do the right things once you have got a chance coming around the back nine.

"I've done that probably better than anybody over the last two or three years - given myself a chance. So I'll prepare pretty much the same."

The only slight change Westwood is planning is to play more golf in the United States in the middle part of the year - at Quail Hollow and The Players, two tough courses he feels will aid his preparation for the stiff challenge of the US Open, which this year takes place in San Francisco.

And he is also hopeful that the work he is putting in with new putting coach Phil Kenyon will pay dividends.

"I think it's very difficult to win a major without making a few (putts) that are surprising or bonuses, which I haven't holed over the last few years," he said.

"So if I can start rolling in a few 25-, 30-footers that I have not been making, that's obviously going to make a massive difference."

Westwood said that the benefits of working with Kenyon were already in evidence late last year, when he recorded back-to-back wins in Thailand and South Africa before taking his winter break.

By getting the putting right, Westwood believes the rest of his game will benefit.

"It helps your whole game," he said.

"It gives you confidence - if you start making putts that you have not been making, then it takes the pressure off your long game You can be a bit more aggressive at certain flags.

"You're not afraid of short-siding yourself, because if you come out of the trap to, say, 10 feet, you are confident of holing it."