THOSE WHO FOLLOW GOLF are familiar with the story of Lee Westwood. After rising to No. 4 in the world in 2000, Lee tumbled to No. 266 two years later. The last eight years have been the pick and shovel work of returning to the top of the golf mountain. At last, the 37-year-old Westwood arrived at the summit on October 31, replacing Tiger Woods as No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
How did Westwood do it? Or, as Rory McIlroy wondered, “How did you manage to turn your life around?” In an intriguing interview with Anna Kessel, Lee is emphatic.
“I was very, very ruthless and honest with myself,” he said. “And I would never, ever, tell anyone else what I did until I’ve finished my career.”
It’s in the vault. And I mean the vault. McIlroy doesn’t know. Westwood’s father, who was the first to congratulate Westwood on his No. 1 ranking, doesn’t know. How about his wife, Laurae? Certainly she knows. “No,” Westwood said. Nobody knows.
Lee explained that there aren’t many people who have been to golf oblivion and made it all the way back. The toughened golfer is not going to Mapquest it for anyone. He did say it might make for good book reading later on when he hangs up the sticks.
But why give it away now? Westwood asked. He’s still in the business of trying to beat the world’s best golfers 30 or so weeks a year. “Golf is a very ruthless and selfish sport.”
I think Lee may have dropped a few hints. Technique might be part of the equation, fitness another, but I would wager that the five-and-a-half inches between Westwood’s ears are where the turnaround started and what made him a resurgent force on the fairways.
−The Armchair Golfer
Visor tips to Ryan Ballengee and John Strege for pointing me to the guardian.co.uk story.
(Image: Eugene Goh/Flickr)