Friday, January 1

Lee Westwood 'Bucks Trend Towards Youth' in Remarkable 2020 Season

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IN A SPORTS YEAR DOMINATED by a devastating global pandemic, it would be easy to overlook what Lee Westwood accomplished. The 47-year-old European Tour veteran won the Race to Dubai in early December.

Then a cherry on top: Westwood was named European Tour Golfer of the Year for the fourth time. (His last time was 2009.)

When Westwood stuck his tee in the ground at the season finale, the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, it was start No. 567 on the European Tour. When he finished four days later, he was the winner of the tour's annual points race.

"I had no expectations," Westwood was quoted as saying. "I had hit balls for about 45 minutes, maximum, at any one period of time for the previous two and a half weeks."

It took pluck, perseverance and talent for the [European Tour] to stage a genuinely worthwhile schedule in this Covid-ruined year. Those same qualities can be attributed to Westwood, the player who emerged top of the pile last Sunday.

His longevity and continued excellence in a sport that grows ever more youthful is quite staggering. The average age of a top 50 player is just under 33, more than 14 years younger than the Worksop-born veteran, whose world ranking matched his age last week.

Age is just a number. And the golf ball certainly doesn't care.

Westwood said, "[I] must admit it is nice to beat kids who weren't born when I won my first tournament."

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