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July 18, 2009

Lee Westwood


MALCOLM BOOTH: Ladies and gentlemen, joined by Lee Westwood, who shot a third-round 70 for a three-round total of 208, 2-under par.
Lee, well played today. Aside perhaps from 18, you seemed to have been playing steady and progressively getting closer to the top of the leaderboard all week. How do you feel about the position you now find yourself in?
LEE WESTWOOD: Well, I'm just trying to play myself into position, basically, and managing to do that. Slight blip on 18, just hit it too far left. I had 203 yards and was going with a hard 8, and Billy, my caddie, told me to keep it right of the flag, and got it sort of going at the flag, and if it lands five yards right of the flag, it probably hops up and I've got a 25-footer for birdie. It was my error for going at the flag. It's one of the few times that I slipped away from my game plan of middle of the greens all day.
But I played solid, tee-to-green pretty much all day and had a lot of chances out there.
MALCOLM BOOTH: Happy with your position presumably going into tomorrow?
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, I was pleased to get it up-and-down on 18 after finding a horrible lie there. And it's got me in a good position for the last day.

Q. With that shot on 18, were you just caught up in the general atmosphere at all, playing to the grandstand? Is that a lesson you'll learn for tomorrow?
LEE WESTWOOD: There's a lesson to be learnt there because I strayed away from my game plan. I hit it straight at the flag. That was the main mistake. If I hit it where Billy tells me to, five yards right of the flag, and then it would one shot better.
But all week I've hit it pretty much where I wanted to, so I'm pleased with the way I'm playing. I was confident coming into the week, and I fed off that confidence and, you know, proved that I'm playing well after the results in France and Loch Lomond and carried it on into this week and giving myself a chance at the Open Championship.

Q. (Inaudible.)
LEE WESTWOOD: No, not really, no. It's still a tricky shot, the second shot into 18, because you know that hollow is right there on the left and the green runs across you. And I misjudged the wind a little bit; it was more out of the right than I thought because we've been playing in a different way all week. Today the wind switched slightly, which made the golf course play a little bit trickier, I think. Just a small error. Better today than tomorrow, I guess.

Q. After the first round I think we were just over 30 people under par; after yesterday's round, 21. It looks like only about a dozen now. Is this really a time when you've just got to grit your teeth, you've got to just get what you can out of your round?
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, I think obviously when there's no wind, as there was the first day, then there's a low score out there available. But even with a -- I don't know what it's blowing today, 15, 20 miles an hour, this golf course has got teeth. And they've been tough with the flags, tucking them away on slopes and stuff like that. So, you know, they've not made it easy for us.
And playing into the middle of the greens, from my experience the first three days, if you play it like that, you're going to have a lot of 25-, 30-footers, and you don't make that many of those. There's obviously only two par-5s, so you don't pick so many shots up on the par-5s. So I'm not surprised to see only a few people under par.
If you stray off line, obviously the penalties are weighty, as well.

Q. You've been to the top and then you scraped around in the middle there for a while and now you're sort of --
LEE WESTWOOD: The middle or the bottom?

Q. I guess. Has all that made you stronger? Your near miss last year at a major and all those things, you feel like all the slaps and punches have positioned you for your best effort tomorrow?
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, I think the more experiences you have, the more equipped you become to handle most situations and deal with most things that come at you.
I would probably suggest I've experienced more in golf than most people out there playing. So I know what it's like to play both ends of the string, I suppose.
Having been in contention at the U.S. Open last week, last year, and played that last round with Tiger there and learnt a lot there, you know, I can carry that on through to tomorrow and try my usual stuff that I've learned from my experiences.

Q. Just following on from the question before, do you think an even par round tomorrow will be enough to basically hold on for whoever takes the tournament?
LEE WESTWOOD: I have no idea. It depends on what the weather does. Strange things happen out there on the golf course. You just have to try and plot your way around this golf course, I think, and not squander too many shots, and I couldn't -- I'll probably couldn't get close to what's going to win. It really could be anything.
So I'm just going to go out there and continue to play like I have the first three days and plot my way around and try not to make too many mistakes. I made too many mistakes the first day, cost me a couples of 6s. Two mistakes the second day, a couple of bogeys, and two mistakes the third day. So that's pretty good in these conditions over three days around a golf course as demanding as this.

Q. If you're out in certainly the penultimate, not the final group, do you relish that? I'm sure you'll have huge galleries and support.
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah. I think obviously if you want to win tournaments, chances are you're probably going to be out in the last couple of groups. It just all comes with being in contention, obviously.
But, you know, the galleries have been fantastic this week. I always get a pretty good reception at most tournaments, but especially The Open Championship. And I don't think there's a much better walk in golf, for certainly a British golfer, than the walk onto the 18th green in an Open Championship. It's an unbelievable reception.

Q. With all those experiences you talked about, do you feel you're now ready to win an Open?
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, I think so. You know, I've put myself in position a few times before and I've learnt from those experiences. I played really quite well the last round of the U.S. Open last year. And I'll be, you know, trying to play as well as, if not a bit better, and be very patient and try not to make too many mistakes out there.

Q. Will you be looking at the leaderboard tomorrow, and if you slip a few shots behind, will you really go for it? Will you be attacking the golf course?
LEE WESTWOOD: I generally look at leaderboards from the word go anyway. But I don't think this is a particular golf course you can attack too much. I think when you start short-siding yourself, you can drop shots really quickly. It can get away from you fast. So I don't really think I shall be doing too much attacking. I think fairways and greens are probably the order of the day and hopefully roll a few 25-, 30-footers in.

Q. It may seem like kind of an odd question, but in any way did your pairing the first two rounds and being part of the travelling circus maybe put you in a better frame of mind to deal with what tomorrow might be like, since you've pretty much ridden through the eye of the storm already?
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, I couldn't believe it on the first tee today; there were about five photographers there. I wondered where they had all gone. I thought they were there for me, but obviously not. I think being paired with Tiger probably focused me more than I would normally, because there was so much going on. I needed to have, you know, almost 110 percent concentration, rather than the usual 100 percent.
So, you know, that's -- and it was a good atmosphere playing out there with those two guys. They were great to play with. Unfortunately they didn't play as well as they probably would have liked. But it was a good grouping to be in the first couple of days.

Q. When you mentioned firstly the lessons that you learnt from playing with Tiger at Torrey Pines, can you tell me what lessons stand out from that?

Q. Secondly, any sign of fatigue from Billy's 90-mile hike last week?
LEE WESTWOOD: He keeps moaning about the odd blister, but I don't pay no attention to it. He's just after sympathy. And he's raised enough money from that. I paid him my sponsorship money. So I think his mind's fully focused on the job at hand this week now. I think his walk is sort of in the past, although he's trying to collect all the money.
MALCOLM BOOTH: Thank you very much for coming in.

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