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March 10, 2006

Lee Westwood


DAVE SENKO: Lee, you dropped seven shots from yesterday, 66 today, if you could, maybe just talk a little about your day, the difference between yesterday and today and then we'll get your birdies, six birdies.

LEE WESTWOOD: I think the main difference is the fact that I'm learning the course as I go along. I didn't come to the tournament until Monday evening quite late. I got here about ten o'clock at night because my usual caddie, it was his wedding at the weekend and I had to be at that in Denmark.

Turned up Monday, as I say, and got nine holes in on Tuesday, with a different wind, and then played it in the Pro Am Wednesday afternoon. So that was my first real round around the golf course.

Then Thursday, obviously, shot 73, missed a couple of greens in the wrong spots, but all in all, I thought 73 was a pretty good score in the afternoon. I wasn't too disappointed. Obviously shot 66 today. Kept the bogeys off my card, played very solidly, rolled a couple more putts in. I hit it close a lot and just getting to know the course a little better as the week goes on. It's my first time here, so it's a learning experience.

DAVE SENKO: Birdies, starting on 10.

LEE WESTWOOD: I hit a 5 wood, lob wedge to about 20 feet and made that.

12, driver, 5 wood on the par 5, 30 feet, two putts.

14, driver, 4 iron, ten feet missed from about five feet on the next for birdie.

Didn't birdie 17, going in with 6 iron. I was a little disappointed to only shoot 3 under on the front nine. Played very solidly.

5, drive, 5 wood, 50 yards short of the green, pitched to three feet.

6, driver and a 4 iron, 50 feet, two putts, 60 feet.

7, drive and a pitch to five.

Q. What's your regular caddie he's name?

LEE WESTWOOD: John Graham, Scotchy, everybody calls him. He married a lovely young lady from Denmark on Saturday. But that's not my caddie this week.

Q. You mean he actually went on a honeymoon instead?

LEE WESTWOOD: Originally I wasn't due to play in this tournament. I lost in the first round in San Diego, and fortunately they gave me an invite at last minute to this tournament. I felt like almost three weeks off at this time of year would have been a bad idea. Having just gotten into the season, finishing fifth in L.A., I felt I was playing well and I wanted to keep on playing.

As I say, I was lucky enough to get an invite at last minute. He was obviously getting married last weekend. We went to the wedding and then he stayed there. He's coming out on Sunday to Orlando for next week's tournament.

Q. What's your schedule between here and Augusta?

LEE WESTWOOD: Orlando, Bay Hill, TPC, week off, The Masters and then the MCI. So I'm on the road for six weeks, which is something I haven't done for 12 years, which, you know, shows a real keenness on my part. I'm obviously mentally feeling that I'm playing a lot better, and I want to come out a bit more and feel like I can contend in the tournament.

Q. Who is your caddie this week?

LEE WESTWOOD: My caddie is Phillip Price's. They have just had a baby, so he's not been working and has had some time off. My caddie obviously got married so, I just got to know if he would like to do it through some of the other caddies.

Q. What's his name?


Q. Conditions like this obviously test where your swing is at; right? You must be very pleased.

LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, I'm quite comfortable with what I'm working on on the range and taking it to the golf course. Obviously they are testing conditions, so it's been good that I can keep it going in the severe winds. You know, it's just going to be an ongoing thing, keep working on the same thing and try to get it as fine tuned as possible.

Q. How close are you now to when you were at your peak a few years ago?

LEE WESTWOOD: I think it's very difficult to tell. I've changed as a person, physically and mentally I think. It's difficult to compare the two.

Q. Do you not like to compare?

LEE WESTWOOD: Not particularly, no. It's just kind of going through the slump I felt I should make a new beginning, and I found it better not to compare to where I was at before and try to start with a clean slate. Try and base my reasoning on what's happening now rather than what's happened in the past.

Q. How different is your swing?

LEE WESTWOOD: Don't know. Don't compare. I just said that. (Laughter).

Q. Are you still working with Leadbetter?

LEE WESTWOOD: No, I'm working with Peter Cowen. He was my coach when I was playing well back in the late 90s and 2000. I went to see David for a few couple of years there and he got me read back on track. But just the logistics of David being in Orlando, me being in England and not coming to the States very often meant I could only see him at the bigger tournaments, the Masters and TPC. And weeks like that are not really weeks that you want to be working on your game, you want to have your game going in there. Made it very, very difficult.

I have a lot of respect for David as a coach and a person. I still get on with him well, as I do with all of the people who have coached me in the past. Sometimes these things run their course and you need to move onto somebody else. No reason why you shouldn't part on good terms. David knows what difference I think he's made to my game.

Q. You said you've changed, you mean your personal life as well?

LEE WESTWOOD: Well, kids came along. Yeah, I think a lot of people, you grow up; I was 25, 26, and now I'm 33 next month. I'm getting on a bit now and getting a bit heavier, middle age has just about set in. Another thing I'm working on, I'm working on my fitness as well. So I'm doing quite a lost things to improve.

Q. How old are your children?

LEE WESTWOOD: Five and 1 1/2.

Q. Is this a course you looked at and said, okay, the wind is going to blow, diabolical greens, this favors me?

LEE WESTWOOD: This is a course I played in the practice rounds and Pro Am and couldn't see hardly a birdie out there. You know, it's the kind of golf course you turn up at the first time seeing it and you think, "This is a tough golf course." Then you obviously have a different attitude when you've got the card in your back pocket and you're having to concentrate a bit harder. Then you eventually see your way around it. But it's a very demanding test. There's no letups out there, even the downwind holes can bite you, very severe.

Q. Is this something that Europeans would see more than Americans? It seems very different here, but I don't know what

LEE WESTWOOD: No, we'd never see a course like this. Never, ever.

Q. Somebody said it would be like putting Pinehurst in British Open conditions or something like that.

LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, very similar, yeah.

Q. What was your plan this week before you changed your plans?

LEE WESTWOOD: I was just going to have a week off and stay at home. I got home and it was minus 8 degrees when we touched down in Heathrow, so I decided quick enough that I needed to get back to sunnier climates and work on my game.

Q. Is the wind identical today to yesterday pretty much?

LEE WESTWOOD: It's slightly different direction but not much. We played the first three, four holes with a stiffish breeze but nothing like it's blowing but, I suppose about 8:00 this morning it started to get up, we teed off at 6:54 so it was a bit of a break.

Yesterday I think teeing off before midday, 11:40 or something like that. We probably had the worst of the conditions when we finished and the wind started to die down. I think over the two days, it's all going to even itself out. I think that's why a lot of the scores are bunched together.

Q. Anything notable about setup today compared to yesterday?

LEE WESTWOOD: No. The only difference I spotted, there are very few easy flags out there. Even the obvious flags are still subtleties around them. Only difference I could see in the morning was the greens holding a bit more than the afternoon. They firm up a lot in the afternoon especially with this wind drying them out. Obviously that makes it a bit harder in the afternoon.

Q. This place seems like it would be tough enough in perfect weather conditions, do you find yourself standing over shots thinking about almost nothing but which way it's blowing here?

LEE WESTWOOD: You find yourself standing over shots thinking where is the best place to miss this, rather than just, you've got to plot your way around the golf course, rather than just firing at flags. You've got a lot more feel shots. You can almost throw the yardage book away. That's the kind of course it is.

You're coming off it and you feel mentally fatigued, which someone says is a sign of a very good golf course. It feels very much like coming off a U.S. Open style golf course. It tests your patience out there, which is good. I think it should.

DAVE SENKO: Thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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