Five reasons Lee Westwood can win the Masters and break his major duck
Lee Westwood travelled straight from The Players Championship on Sunday night to Georgia to play a few rounds at Augusta with his son Sam. It is Westwood Jr’s first outing at the Masters venue and as his father says “he is understandably extremely excited”. The 21-year-old will also be extremely proud of his dad’s performance at The Players Championship on Sunday, where he finished second behind Justin Thomas. It was his second runner-up placing in as many Sundays, having pushed Bryson DeChambeau all the way at Bay Hill, and although there was disappointment by this latest close call, there is also so much positivity to take into the season’s first major, where at the age of 47 he will seek to finally land that big title that would look so appropriate on his creaking CV. “This will be a good Monday,” Westwood said with a smile as he left Sawgrass. And he knows, it could be an even better April. All the ingredients are there. Form Westwood is back in the world’s top 20 for the time in almost eight years. And this pair of close calls has not only brought rich consolation in the form of ranking points. The $1.635m (£1.17m) he collected in Sawgrass was actually the largest cheque he has ever picked up at a single tournament and together with the $1m-plus he picked up in Orlando took his earnings for the fortnight to an eye-watering $2.7m. However, what will really stand out to Westwood is the accumulation of Ryder Cup points. He has moved up to fourth on Europe’s “world” points list and is all but guaranteed a return to the arena which has defined his career perhaps more than any other. Having missed out for the first in 21 years in 2018, Westwood is set to equal Sir Nick Faldo’s blue-and-gold record of 11 appearances. In this form, Padraig Harrington would look to him to be his on-course leader at Whistling Straits. At 33-1, Westwood is considered by the bookmakers to be alongside Tyrrell Hatton as England’s best shout of a first green-jacket since Danny Willett in 2016. Those might be generous odds. Only six players have accumulated more world ranking points so far in 2021.