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November 19, 2009

Lee Westwood


SCOTT CROCKETT: A pretty good day for you out there, just give us your thoughts on the opening 66.
LEE WESTWOOD: Well, it was very solid stuff. The only blemish on 14 where I thought I was really unlucky and I could quite easily sat here with a 64. Hit it really well tee-to-green. Didn't make anything over the first six holes, and just was really patient because I knew the way I was hitting it there were birdies for me out. So that's exactly what I did.
SCOTT CROCKETT: And a nice way to bounce back from that unfortunate 14 with three birdies in a row, that must have pleased you.
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah made a nice birdie with a chip-in, one of about four shots I hit stone dead all day. Great birdie at 16. Got a read off Rory's putt and made that one. And then 6-iron, right shot behind the hole on 17 and a Brucey bonus down the hill there.

Q. What happened on 14?
LEE WESTWOOD: Got unlucky. Hit a good tee shot, hit a lovely 3-wood, 276 I think it was up front, and it pitched in some old divots that had been sanded where somebody else had just been practising their chipping and killed it dead. And it rolled around to the right, and it really wasn't in a position I deserved to be in. I played what I thought was going to be a decent chip but grabbed on fringe, as they do around here, and didn't feed down the hill and broke left and left me with a tough 40-footer which I rolled two feet by.
And sometimes when you get down by the water on some of these greens, it gets a bit grainy and just mis-read the grain and it snide left on me. Just one of those things you put out of your mind and try and birdie the next three holes.

Q. I don't know how many times you played with Rory before, I just wonder if the atmosphere was different?
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, there was a good bit of chat. We've played together a lot, and we go out for dinner together, so there's no reason for there not to be.

Q. Greg Norman was saying yesterday, he thought there would be quite a difference in the scoring conditions for the early starters and later starters. Did it seem like it was playing tougher than when you were practising?
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, I think --

Q. Do you think that it's perhaps worth a shot or two more?
LEE WESTWOOD: I think it's generally accepted that the conditions get harder as the day goes on. The wind picks up. The greens don't spike but look chewed up a little bit, as they do at golf tournaments. And I've always thought that this tournament, or it used to be the Volvo Masters, but this tournament in a draw in an Order-of-Merit order is one of the harder ones to win, because you're not playing on an even playing field so to speak. You never have a morning round where you feel like you can go out and really get aggressive and attack.

Q. Over the back nine with you both throwing birdies at one another, did it ever feel like a match-play contest at any stage?
LEE WESTWOOD: No, because I looked at the board and saw Robert Allenby at 7. What Rory is doing didn't really have any effect on the way I was thinking. I'm here to try and win this golf tournament and if something else happens after that, then that would be great.

Q. The atmosphere on the first felt like the last group on the Sunday I thought; did it feel like that for you? It wasn't a normal Thursday?
LEE WESTWOOD: No, it didn't. There's a long way to go and a lot of water to go under the bridge before we get to Sunday. A lot of jockeying for position and you're going to have to play well this week to get into contention on Sunday.
So to be bothered about anything on the first tee on a Thursday that concerns anything else other than trying to hit it down the middle on the first and get on the green in two to give yourself a birdie chance is irrelevant as far as I'm concerned.

Q. Another one of your specials on 18, Lee, can you just talk us through?
LEE WESTWOOD: What do you mean another one of my specials?

Q. Well, after what you did in Portugal.
LEE WESTWOOD: Getting good out of trees?

Q. Something like that. What was the club and what was your thinking to play the shot?
LEE WESTWOOD: I just came out of my second shot a little bit and got a little bit unlucky, as well. It just rolled backup against the collar and I had 146, and just went down on the grip on a 9-iron, I tried to get the heel off the ground, so it didn't snag the back of my stance. I was coming down steep on it and just drive it in there. I knew with that club, the 9-iron, it maybe perfect and lucky enough to roll back down the hill to about four or five feet.

Q. You were unfortunate with your putting last week in Hong Kong; are you satisfied with your putting today?
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, its with a all right, acceptable. The one at 17 was a bonus. I made a couple of nice ones on 16 and 10, but other than that, it was all pretty regulation stuff, stiffing it, on the par 5s in two.
So I did what I had to do on the greens. I wouldn't say it was a fantastic putting day. If I had a fantastic putting day, I would have shot 62.

Q. You're always very keen to sort of compartmentalise what you do on the course will take care of other things. Could you tell us at what point you kind of realised that in your development as a golfer, because it's obviously the voice of experience that's talking.
LEE WESTWOOD: I learned very early. I think that's why I won so much back in '98, '99, 2000, to break it down, analyse it and put it in little boxes, play each box at a time.

Q. How long was the putt on 17?
LEE WESTWOOD: I guess it was about 40 feet. But I had just seen Rory putt it off the front and I had seen Ross Fisher in the group on front, with a looked like 15 feet by, so I knew it was quick.

Q. When you got here, were you disappointed there wasn't more rough? You like tough courses.
LEE WESTWOOD: Oh, yeah, I mean, if I was going to set up the golf course perfectly for me, there would be rough. But I can't have everything, can I (smiling). So you just have to play whatever is there in front of you, and that's what I'm trying to do.
There's enough trouble out there with sand and stuff. I think I proved today with the strength of my driving that if you're a good, long, straight driver, then you can shoot good scores around here, and I would guess, if you looked at the top of the leaderboard, yeah, Allenby, Wood, Villegas, all good, straight, long drivers.

Q. You said you weren't record about Rory, but you'd seen two 66s, if you were watching the board early --
LEE WESTWOOD: I only really kind of found out after nine holes.

Q. I just wondered if it was in your mind, from when you saw the 66s: Right, I've got to shoot a certain score.
LEE WESTWOOD: Well, like I said, I only really noticed after nine holes, and I was out in 2-under, so I thought, well, there's not too bad. If I shoot 2-under on the back nine that's within touching distance.
That's all you can do in weeks like this, is try to play for position and go in for the kill on Sundays. Obviously I knew Robert had got to 7, so you want to get as close as you can to him, and I think 6 is more than acceptable in the hardest conditions.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Anymore questions for Lee? If we don't, thank you very much, Lee, good luck tomorrow.

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