Problem is physical not mental, insists faltering Westwood

World No 3 Lee Westwood insists it was his game which let him down and not his mentality as he finished the Open Championship six over par.

The Ryder Cup star has had eight top-10 finishes in his last 10 majors, including six in the top three.

Expectation is always high for the Worksop golfer going into his home major but with his 40th birthday in April next year he now has to constantly field questions about whether time is running out in his quest to secure one of golf’s biggest prizes. He began the tournament with birdies at his first two holes but it was downhill from that point and rounds of 73 70 71 72 meant he finished well down the field.

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“I made the cut but I didn’t have much of a game coming in so I didn’t expect too much,” said Westwood.

“You’d like to be coming into it ripping it and every part of your game in good shape but sometimes it’s not so sometimes you just have to make it what you’ve got.

“You certainly need a bit more luck at the Open Championship with the draw but that didn’t really come into play this week.

“But this is probably the hardest of the four (majors) to win.”

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Asked whether the barrier to his major breakthrough was mental and not technical he added: “I have felt pretty calm in the major championships.

“I’ve had a lot of good chances and nearly won quite a few.

“I never get down on myself, really. I always look for the positives of everything.

“I hit the ball okay today but what I was working on I didn’t quite get it right.

“I had a pretty big pull two or three times and one time it cost me a double bogey and one time it cost me bogey.

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“You just learn to live with it and just keep working on it.

“It’s one of those things. You play golf long enough you have no problem with it.”

And his response to the inevitable question about his age?

“Life begins at 40, so they tell me,” he said.

Westwood will head back to his home near Worksop to present trophies tomorrow at the junior golf day he sponsors, and then visit some of his golf academies before flying out to America – where it is believed he will be house-hunting in the Orlando area having made the decision to relocate to the United States.

“I’m not doing it merely for the sake of it,” he explained.

“I think playing over there on the courses all the time and with those kind of practice facilities and the right kind of weather should have a big effect considering three of the four majors are played there.

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“I like playing on the PGA Tour now. It was well reported that I struggled over there but over the last few years I’ve seemed to enjoy it a lot more and now have a good time over there.”

Former Open champion Paul Lawrie left Lytham frustrated after “putting like an idiot” again.

The Scot, winner at Carnoustie in 1999, got progressively worse in his first three rounds having been second after opening with a 65 to equal his best score in the tournament.

He improved marginally with a closing 72 but blamed his form on the greens for costing him the chance of something much better.

“I played nicely and just putted like an idiot again. Thursday I putted beautifully, so it’s just a bit weird,” said the 43-year-old.