LEE WESTWOOD HAS CONQUERED all challengers in the Race to Dubai. In fact, the Englishman ran roughshod over a very respectable field that included names such as Harrington, Garcia, Fisher, McILroy, Ogilvy, Kaymer, Casey, Poulter and Els.
On Sunday, Westwood capped off a brilliant performance in the Dubai World Championship by carding eight birdies on his way to a 64 and a six-shot margin of victory. His 23-under total—the same total by which he won the Portugal Masters in October—propelled him to the top of the Race to Dubai final ranking. Westwood collected $1.25 million for winning the season-ending event plus a $1.5 million bonus for finishing first on the European Tour money list.
“This is definitely the biggest moment of my career today,” Westwood said. And he shed a few tears to prove it.
BBC golf correspondent Iain Carter tried to put Westwood’s torrid golf into perspective.
“Having covered the Tour for the last seven seasons I am struggling to recall a more dominant performance in such a significant event,” Carter wrote. “You probably have to go back to Nick Faldo’s 1996 demolition of Greg Norman at Augusta before you can identify better golf from an Englishman.”
Then Carter tackled the next logical question on the minds of some golf observers.
“His objective from here has to be to harness that mental approach at the majors. If he does watch out; green jackets, claret jugs and the rest of the most prized trophies in the game could easily be making their way to Westwood Towers.”
Although he has had some dry spells in his career, I’ve always been an admirer of Westwood’s game. He’s a splendid ball striker who has contended at the majors (eight top tens). Although overshadowed by Watson’s tragic ending, Westwood could have won the claret jug this year had he not faltered, bogeying three of the last four holes. He also came up one stroke short at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, which will forever be remembered as the epic duel between Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate.
Westwood definitely has the game. Time is of the essence. At 36, he is in his competitive prime and needs to capitalize on his chances before they start to run out.
−The Armchair Golfer
(Image: Steve Bailey/Flickr)