Heartbreak for Westwood
Lee Westwood suffered his most heartbreaking of near-misses in the 138th Open Championship at Turnberry today.
England’s Lee Westwood suffered his most heartbreaking of near-misses in a major championship after coming within a putt of winning the Open at Turnberry today (Sunday).
The Workshop golfer had an outside chance with his 80-foot birdie attempt at the 18th which, had it dropped, would have made him the first English winner of the Claret Jug since Nick Faldo in 1992 at Muirfield.
Criminally he raced it 10ft past and then could not hole the one coming back which would have given him a two-under total and put him level with clubhouse leader Stewart Cink.
Worse was to follow as he then had to watch on television as 59-year-old Tom Watson, at three under and needing a par at the last to win his record-equalling sixth Open, made bogey to drop into a play-off with his fellow American.
“That makes it even worse. It’s gone from frustration to sickness,” was Westwood’s response seconds after Watson failed with his seven-foot par effort.
“It was a tricky two-putt at the last, but I thought I had to hole it to be honest – I didn’t see Tom bogeying the last as he is such an experienced guy.”
Just over 12 months ago the 36-year-old entered the last day of the US Open playing in the final group with world number one Tiger Woods, just one shot ahead, and matched his American opponent stroke for stroke.
Both had putts on the 18th green to reach a play-off with Rocco Mediate – Woods’ dropped but Westwood’s did not and Woods went on to win his 14th major in the 18-hole shoot out.
However, to miss out in his ‘home’ event was more difficult to take.
“I’m a shot out of the play-off on both. They are both pretty sickening but this is the Open Championship and it means the most to me,” said the Ryder Cup star.
Westwood began the day at two under, two behind overnight leader Watson, and despite a bogey at the fifth he bounced back to birdie the sixth and eagle the long seventh, turning in 32.
Although he bogeyed 10, 15 and 16 he had an 18ft eagle attempt at the par-five 17th and although it did not drop he was still back to two under.
Unfortunately his tee shot at 18 found the left fairway bunker but he still produced a remarkable recovery to the front right of the green to set up that unlikely long-range birdie attempt which he felt he had to make to keep his hopes alive.
Westwood admitted he thought he had hit a decent shot on 18 and had no idea his second shot would be from sand.
“I thought it had gone down the fairway and missed the trap but it must have curled round and gone in,” he said.
“I hit a great shot out of the trap but didn’t finish it off.”
The lead fluctuated many times throughout an eventful afternoon and the world number 17 said the result was always in the balance.
“It was one of those days where you couldn’t think ‘I’ve got this’. You were just trying to get in,” he added.
“I figured three under might be pretty good and it would have been good.
“I was pretty happy with the way I played all day. I hit some good shots and made some good up and downs when I needed to.
“I haven’t made too many mistakes but I’ve bogeyed three of the last four when you look at it.
“The putts on 16 (from 15ft) and 17 (18ft) I thought I had made. The biggest disappointment was obviously three-putting the last.
“I’ve had my disasters out there when I’ve been doing well, they can happen and they generally do when they matter the most.
“But I played great all week. Third place is not to be sniffed at in a major championship but it is disappointing really.
“I had a chance to win the Open Championship, a great chance.”
Home hopes and in-form stars – 5 players to watch at the Open
Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry and Scottie Scheffler will all hope to be in the mix for the Claret Jug.
5 major talking points ahead of the 150th Open Championship
Can Tiger Woods contend for a third Open victory at St Andrews?
Open Championship looks set to deliver plenty of drama
St Andrews hosts the only major in 2022 where a career grand slam is not on the line.
From Seve to Tiger, great St Andrews moments as 150th Open heads to home of golf
Costantino Rocca and Arnold Palmer are also among those to light up the Old Course over the years.
Matt Fitzpatrick relishing Scottish Open return after Brookline triumph
The 27-year-old from Sheffield has not competed in a Tour event since winning the US Open last month.
Justin Thomas: Beating LIV Golf rebel would make Scottish Open win even sweeter
Ian Poulter, Justin Harding, Adrian Otaegui and Branden Grace successfully appealed to be able to compete at the tournament.
Tiger Woods feeling stronger as he warms up for Open Championship at St Andrews
The 15-time major winner has twice lifted the Claret Jug at the Old Course.
Billy Horschel accuses LIV Golf players of being ‘hypocrites and liars’
Horschel made an impassioned defence of the PGA Tour and DP World Tour ahead of the co-sanctioned Genesis Scottish Open.
Ian Poulter among three LIV Golf Series players to get Scottish Open reprieve
Poulter, Adrian Otaegui and Justin Harding have had their suspensions temporarily stayed.
Graeme McDowell shocked by people wishing him dead since switching to LIV Golf
The 2010 US Open champion acknowledged his switch to LIV was “about the money”.