Westwood and Mickelson paired up

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Lee Westwood has been paired alongside Phil Mickelson in the opening two rounds of the Shell Houston Open.

Lee Westwood has been paired alongside Phil Mickelson in the opening two rounds of the Shell Houston Open.

Westwood will be hoping to regain the world number one ranking from Martin Kaymer this week, and requires a top-two finish to enter the Masters next week at the top of the pile.

Neither Woods or Kaymer has won yet this year, but Westwood is still confident about the state of his game.

“I feel like I am playing well – my game’s in good shape. All of it seems pretty sharp,” he said.

“This is generally the time of year I start playing fairly well and hitting a bit of form. It’s a good time of year to start playing well.

“The main point here is that they try to get the greens as quick as possible so when you get to Augusta next week it’s not as big a shock to see the speed of them. You’ve been prepared for them.

“It helped a lot last year (he came joint eighth in Houston). I like to be competitive going into the week of a major. That’s the reason I play the schedule I play.

“If you look at all the major championships this year, I am playing the week before. If I go in after two weeks off I could be rusty, even for nine holes – and that’s too much in a major.”

One definite area of concern for the Englishman this year has been his putting, and he’s planning a change or two for Houston.

The pairing of two future Ryder Cup captains Jose Maria Olazabal and Davis Love III will be another one to watch. It is Olazabal’s first appearance in America in nearly two years, after missing out on most of last season due to rheumatic pains.

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