Westwood looks for hot start

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 29, 2013

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - FEBRUARY 04: Lee Westwood of England on the 10th fairway during the first round the Omega Dubai Desert Classic on the Majlis Course at the Emirates Golf Club on February 4, 2010 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
He's got a new caddie and a new home in the United States. Lee Westwood hopes those changes translate into victories this year, starting with the Dubai Desert Classic that begins Thursday. The seventh-ranked Englishman has been a runner-up at Dubai three times, including last year when he led after three rounds but lost to Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello. Westwood missed a seven-footer on 17 that could have tied, and one on 18 to force a playoff. After missing the cut at the PGA Championship last year, Westwood split from coach Pete Cowen and temporary caddie Mike Waite. Mike Kerr, normally on the bag for Alvaro Quiros, took over. Westwood also moved to Florida with his family in December after rejoining the PGA Tour in 2012. The move to Florida, Westwood said, has allowed him to play much more golf in the offseason - he was out last week with Luke Donald - than he's done in the past when England has been frigid. ''I feel like I'm coming out running,'' Westwood said, adding that his short game and putting have shown the most improvement. ''Hopefully, I will come out and be competitive,'' he said. ''We've seen recently some of the best players struggling to find their competitive edge. I feel like I'm playing well and I have a chance.'' Westwood, though, has yet to replace Cowen and isn't looking to overhaul his swing like Tiger Woods has in the past. The Englishman has been practicing more and ''doesn't feel rusty at the moment.'' ''I haven't really changed coaches but done away with a few,'' he said with a smile. ''That is a big difference. I'm not going to another coach and trying a new method. I'm not making any big changes as such.'' Westwood, who turns 40 this year, said it seemed ''like the right time'' to move to the United States. He said his two children, who were 8 and 11, were young enough to make the adjustment to a new school, and the new location allows him to play more on the U.S. tour without being away from his family for long periods. ''I played the PGA Tour last year and really enjoyed it and fancied a new challenge with the family,'' Westwood said. ''Fancied making a move and being somewhere warm.'' And with every new season, Westwood has to contend with questions of whether this might be the year he finally wins a major. He finished tied for third at last year's Masters, but fared poorly in the other three. Time was of the essence, he admitted, but he wasn't about to let his age influence his play. ''That would be putting a bit of pressure on myself,'' he said. ''No, I try hard year every year to win a major, so just need to find a little spark that takes me from finishing second or third to winning one.'' Westwood won twice in 2012, once on the European Tour and once on the OneAsia Tour. But for a man who has 22 victories on the European Tour, it was a less than stellar season. He struggled at times with his putter and saw his ranking slip from third to seventh. He ended the year tied for a disappointing 48th in the season-ending Dubai World Championship.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Best and worst from NBA All-Star Saturday night

WATCH: Klay Thompson can't go home unless he beats Steph Curry in 3-Point contest

Star players are hurting Houston Rockets

Emmitt Smith: Adrian Peterson only current player who could break rushing record

Coach K gets buzzer-beater win over Virginia for his birthday

Baylor approves new measures to deal with sexual assault

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Joe Mauer: Concussions blurred vision, affected hitting

LeBron James says Kevin Love-Celtics trade rumor is false

Michael Jordan gifts Kobe Bryant full set of Air Jordans

Bethune-Cookman football player killed at party

Former UFC heavyweight Kevin Randleman dead at 44

WATCH: Chelsea scores three goals in less than 20 minutes

LaVine, Gordon put on best NBA dunk contest in years

WATCH: Thompson beats teammate Curry in 3-point contest

NFL teams, players hand out awesome Valentines

Earl Campbell ‘disappointed’ in Johnny Manziel, wants to help

Big man Karl-Anthony Towns wins NBA skills challenge

MLB commish: Cubs will host All-Star Game in near future

WATCH: Memphis forward recreates Vince Carter's elbow dunk in game

Bruins forward is goal scoring machine after suspension

Michael Jordan gives Kobe Bryant complete set of Air Jordans

Drake has Kentucky edition of custom ‘OVO’ Air Jordan 8s

QUIZ: Name every NBA All-Star Game MVP

Watch rare footage of Stephen Curry from 2001-02 emerges

Check out this custom camouflage Oregon helmet

Golf News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker