May 24, 2001
RODDY WILLIAMS: All right. Welcome to the Volvo PGA Championship. Give us a few thoughts on how you are playing at the moment and thoughts for this week.
LEE WESTWOOD: It's getting better every day, really. I'm hitting the ball a lot better this week than I was last week. I feel a lot more under control. Footing is feeling a lot more solid. Short game is sharpening, so I'm looking forward to playing. Obviously, I enjoy playing Wentworth. Played pretty well last year in both tournaments, so can't wait to get the tournament going.
RODDY WILLIAMS: You were second here in this tournament here last year.
LEE WESTWOOD: And then won The Match Play. Pretty good year.
RODDY WILLIAMS: And a bit of a break after the birth of your son, as well.
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, like any sport, golf, you only get out what you are putting in or not putting in. So, I certainly didn't expect to get anything out.
Q. As a percentage when you were playing really well, where are you now?
LEE WESTWOOD: I'm about 50 percent at the moment.
Q. Where were you two weeks ago?
LEE WESTWOOD: A lot less. (Laughs).
Q. How much longer do you think it will be until you get to where you were?
LEE WESTWOOD: I don't know, really. I'm trying to change a few things in my swing at the same time as well, so that's why I'm not totally competitive. Trying to change my alignment, has always been poor and just slightly -- trying to change my takeaway slightly, as well, but I'm always working constantly on my game. It's just these two seem quite big moves -- or big changes.
Q. So, you are saying it is highly unlikely that you will win?
LEE WESTWOOD: Highly unlikely?
Q. Yeah, if you are operating at 50 percent?
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, it's highly unlikely.
Q. What would make you still be a contender at this event?
LEE WESTWOOD: Depends. It's golf. The game changes from day-to-day. I could go to the range tomorrow and find I'm at about 80 percent and I have a good chance, but I say 50 percent, if I score well and play well, I'll finish at best Top-10.
Q. Do you not know when that's going to happen, when you look back at the Benson and Hedges --
LEE WESTWOOD: I know sometimes, you know, I get a feeling the way I'm hitting it that I've got a really good chance that week. When I won Loch Lomond and a couple years ago, on the practice range, and it just felt like it was getting better every day. I felt like I've got a really good chance and I was putting well and I thought, I'd got a good chance of winning, as well; and did it at the English Open -- at the Deutsche event, shot four rounds in the 60s and won. So, it does happen every now and again. So, I thought I had a good chance in Belgium last year, as well, before the tournament starts. So, I'm always a pretty good judge.
Q. Have you ever won tournaments when you didn't feel you were playing very well?
LEE WESTWOOD: Well, more tournaments when I didn't feel I was playing well and more when I thought I was playing well.
Q. These changes are new changes to get you back to where you were last year?
LEE WESTWOOD: New changes, yeah. I've stood short for 14 years and thought it was about time I changed.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Worked very well in the past, hasn't it?
LEE WESTWOOD: Sure, if you take the left-hand side of the golf course out.
LEE WESTWOOD: I am going. Fortunately, a baby doesn't get me out of the meeting. There would be about 50 players missing; it seems like nearly every player has had a baby recently. But I'm not going to chip in with much. I don't really know that much about it, to be honest. I don't know what's going to be discussed. I'm just going to go and sit and listen quietly in the corner and take it all in.
Q. You are Europe's No. 1, our finest our answer to Tiger Woods . When are you going to get it started, or are you going to give an excuse and say that 'my baby is asleep' --
LEE WESTWOOD: I've never used that as an excuse.
Q. Haven't you?
LEE WESTWOOD: No, when have I used that as an excuse?
Q. When do you think it will be?
LEE WESTWOOD: You didn't answer my question, come on. I didn't use it as an excuse. You, you're a part-timer now. You wouldn't have heard it if I had. (Laughter.)
Q. When do you think your game will be back to fruition?
LEE WESTWOOD: I don't know. Very difficult to tell. Hopefully very soon because it's not much fun playing average.
Q. Have you not met the Grim Reaper?
LEE WESTWOOD: (Laughs).
Q. Did you top a drive off the first today?
LEE WESTWOOD: Did I? Yeah, I was just working on something.
Q. For some reason --
LEE WESTWOOD: No, not me. Must have been Clarkey. (Laughs).
Q. Does this place inspire you?
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, it does. When I drive in through the gates there, it just has a feeling about it, you know. It's almost like -- when the weather is like this, it's almost like driving down Magnolia Lane coming down the rhododendron bushes down there. Going to wax into a poem in a minute.
Q. Especially after last October.
LEE WESTWOOD: When the sun shines every day? Yeah, it does. I obviously look forward to coming and playing here. We play two big tournaments here -- or we play two tournaments and they are both very big tournaments, and it obviously gets the juices flowing.
Q. Do you know realise what Monty had done winning seven European Order of Merits?
LEE WESTWOOD: I realise -- after last year, how difficult one was to win, how huge an achievement winning seven is, certainly. But, I don't think it will every be equalled, really, unless Tiger comes over here and plays full-time.
Q. Possibility was raised that woods might play enough tournaments to qualify for the European Money List, European Order of Merit. Are you in favour of that, if it came about?
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah. The more he plays over here, the better. The more chances you get to play against the best in the world, the better player you should become, if you -- you know, if you treat it the right way and believe that you can beat him and that he can't come over and walk all over everybody. I think looking at golf over the last three years, in general, proves how much he has raised the standard and raised the purses and raised the quality of the venues and the TV and everything.
Q. Thomas Bjorn said yesterday he would like to see 15 or 16 World Golf Championship events, to bring the top players to Europe and America together. Would you support something like that?
LEE WESTWOOD: As long as I was in them, yeah. It wouldn't be much fun if you weren't in it, would it? I'm saying, for the people that aren't in them, what's going to happen to them. Yes, it would be good -- it would be good to play, you know -- I said it last week, for the top 60 or 75 players in the world to get together more than the seven times a year than they do now. If they could get together 15 or 20 times, then that would obviously be better for us. It would be better for the public as a viewing spectacle, but not sure it would be good for golf.
Q. It would have a serious impact on something like the European Tour, wouldn't it?
LEE WESTWOOD: It would kill it, really, wouldn't it? It would kill the U.S. tour, wouldn't it?
Q. Absolutely. Not just the European Tour?
LEE WESTWOOD: It would kill all tours.
Q. And you care about that, despite the fact that --
LEE WESTWOOD: On the way out? (Laughs). The grand old age of 28.
Q. But you are concerned enough about the Tour?
LEE WESTWOOD: Well, where is the next lot going to come from if you do that? You know, isn't money going to filter down through? You see what's happening in the premier league now with football. If they ever go to this European League they are on about, what's going to happen to the Wycombe Wanderers when you get to the semifinals? Where are they going to head? That could happen in golf quite easily.
Q. And do you feel that responsibility?
LEE WESTWOOD: Well, I think everybody should feel that responsibility.
Q. You should, but not everybody does?
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, but we are all ambassadors for the game, whatever way you look at it. We are in the show. We are entertainers at the end of the day. We should be thinking about that.
Q. Do you remember what you were under par winning the match play?
LEE WESTWOOD: I think 84-under par -- maybe not that many. I was about -- probably not that many. Probably about 35-under par. I know Monty set a new record didn't he? I think I was about 14 -, 15-under against Sergio, 13-under against Ernie, and only about 6-under against Monty.
Q. Sergio said over the weekend that Tiger wins some of his events because players back off. Do you go along with that?
LEE WESTWOOD: I would think that a lot of players would be intimidated by him coming face-to-face with him, yeah, head-to-head, and he probably does win a lot of events because he intimidates people. As soon as his name goes on the leaderboard people fall back.
Q. Have you ever beat him?
LEE WESTWOOD: No. But it's happened in Europe. It got to a Stage three -- two or three years ago when Monty's name went on the leaderboard. I'm sure it happened with Seve's name went on the leaderboard, Faldo's. People with that presence, it's just a natural thing to occur.
Q. Does it happen when your name goes up?
LEE WESTWOOD: I don't know. I wouldn't be in the position to tell you.
Q. Three years ago I think at Augusta, I think that you said that your target at that point was to get closer to Tiger. He was an inspiration; he would work hard and do this. You've always had a lot of success since then, but have you gotten any closer to him? You've improved, but has he gone even further?
LEE WESTWOOD: It's difficult to tell. At that stage he'd only won one major, and since then he's won six or seven and I haven't won one. If you judge it that way, I haven't gotten closer to him. But it's very hard to quantify it, I suppose. I've won like 24 tournaments since 1996 -- you take Tiger Woods out of the equation, show me a player that's won as many as that.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Maybe make it 25 this week. Best of luck, Lee.
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