Lee Westwood hasn't had a whole lot of success as the favorite going into major championships recently. The former No. 1-ranked player in the world, and current No. 2, was pegged as one of the favorites at this year's Masters, U.S. Open and Open Championship, but on all three occasions, Westwood failed to live up to the lofty expectations.
For whatever reason, the current holder of the "best player to never win a major" tag has had trouble dealing with the pressure being put on him prior to a major. And despite what Westwood says, at 38, his window of opportunity to win a major championship is closing with every passing tournament.
He turned to Dave Stockton after missing the cut at the Open Championship to deal with his putting issues, in hopes of trying to improve the one part of his game that seems to be failing him in pressure-packed situations.
But that's not the only things he's working on. Westwood's also trying to simplify things by not putting as much stock in the majors, so much so that he's going to try and play four rounds of golf this week without a care in the world.
"You'll see me not trying," said Westwood on Tuesday. "When you get into those positions just enjoy it and have a free, clear mind -- and play like it doesn't really mean anything.
"It's four rounds of golf, no different to the Indonesian Masters. I've done all the hard work now, done it for 20 years -- it's time to just relax and let it flow."
No different than the Indonesian Masters, huh? No matter how much Westwood tries to "let it flow" this week, if he gets in contention on the weekend, he'll certainly start to notice that it's not just another golf tournament.
It makes sense for Westwood to try and simplify things, but I'm not sure "not trying" is going to help him secure his first major championship. What it really boils down to is his putting, and that's a part of his game he's currently working on at the moment.
If he can start rolling the putter this week, we may start to see Westwood relax a bit on the course. But if he can't get the flat stick in order, expect him to hold on to the BPTNWAM tag until next April.
- Lee Westwood