Sunday 21 January 2018

Westwood credits reasons why he will be number one

Lee Westwood has no trouble naming the qualities which later this month will see him replace Tiger Woods as the world's number one golfer.

"A lot of guts, determination, a lot of soul-searching at times, taking responsibility for my own golf swing and finding and listening to just one person -- me," said the Englishman who, nine years ago, slumped from fourth in the rankings to outside the top 250.

Westwood has to wait to be confirmed as the player who brings to an end to the latest five-year reign of Woods.

But, because he has pulled out of this week's Portugal Masters title defence to give his injured calf more time to recover, it will happen.

The 37-year-old had hoped to topple Woods by finishing first or second in the Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews yesterday. Bothered by his leg again, however, he managed only a closing 73 and slipped from fifth to 11th to finish 10 shots behind his Ryder Cup partner Martin Kaymer -- the winner now of his last three tournaments.

Westwood, who took six weeks off before Celtic Manor, is hoping his next event will be the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai at the start of November. That is scheduled to be the next appearance of Woods as well -- and his last chance to avoid going through an entire PGA Tour season without a win.

Ideally, of course, Westwood would have wanted to take the top spot on the course, but the vagaries of the rolling two-year system operated by the world rankings mean he does not have to wait until then.

"I'll take it any way," he said. "I've had a great year up until getting injured (even after that he came second at The Open). Look at all of the world ranking points I've won -- I was leading that by a mile before I got my injury.

"But I'm not allowing myself to think about it until it happens. It's something I've always dreamed of."

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