44-year old Westwood has won more than 40 events internationally, 23 of those European Tour events and although his last victory anywhere came more than three years ago he is all class and is a genuine coup for tournament organisers this week.
Not that it would have been inexpensive to get the 44 year old to Perth although his ambassador role with tournament sponsor ISPS Handa has no doubt played a key role in attracting him to this part of the world.
The one thing missing from the former world number one’s CV is a major championship although on nine occasions he has been inside the top three. He has, though, won several of the game’s leading events outside the majors and at his best he is still one of the game’s best.
This week's event is played over 54 holes of stroke-play before the leading twenty-four players move through to a series of match play knockout contest on Sunday. The leading eight seeded players after round three are afforded the luxury of sitting out the opening round of match play but they become involved in the round of 16 and onwards if successful.
Westwood arrives of the back of a solid and encouraging 11th place in Malaysia last week although, that aside, his more recent form has been below his best.
This is the second staging of this event in this format although Westwood has no aversion to playing well in Australia having won the 1997 Australian Open at the Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne. This will be his first time in this event but although perhaps too much is made of this aspect he does enjoy a good match play record.
In a media conference today, Westwood described his delight to be back.
“Well, it's been a while since I've been down in Australia, I think it was a couple years ago I played the Australian Open, and I've always enjoyed coming down here.
“I've been coming down here since 1994 I think the first time. Just a great place to come and play, especially this time of year when the weather's miserable at home. It's a nice run of four tournaments for me to start the year, with Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Malaysia and then here.”
Westwood feels that is game is on the up at present; “I've started to play better as the three weeks and four weeks have gone on. I know I'm going to take a bit of getting going. I played well last week. Very hard to hole putts on the greens, they weren't the best, but I shot 10 under just purely hitting it close on Friday, which is my best round for quite some time.
As to his thoughts on the format being used this week Westwood was positive about the point of difference it will provide.
“I heard a lot about the format as well, sounds like an interesting format. I do well at stroke play and match play, so it's nice to see somebody use their initiative and combine the two. I watched a little bit on TV last year and it looks like an exciting format. Lake Karrinyup's a great golf course. I like the old traditional‑style golf courses, tree‑lined and great bunkering and lovely greens. Just seems a perfect fit."
The almost predictable question was asked as to him being one of the best players historically without a major;
“I'm not too bothered about it. I have played well in the major championships and finished top 3 in all of them without winning one. There's been various reasons for not winning one.
“I've done the wrong thing at the wrong times when I've been in contention, but I've done what I thought was the right thing at the right times as well, and what I thought was the right thing at that moment and somebody else has just done something a little bit better. I've tried to do the right thing at the right times and always do my best in that situation, that's just about all you can do really.
“I still feel fit and strong, I still hit it far enough to contend in tournaments, so there's no reason why not (he can’t win a major). I'm not in the Masters yet, unfortunately, or the U.S. Open, but I'm in The Open Championship and PGA this year.
Westwood lost a ball when contending at the 2012 US Open at Olympic Club
“So I've been trying to get back in the top 50 of the world to get in the other two major championships because obviously if you're not in, you can't win them. But no, I finished second, what, two Masters ago, so still feel like I've got a chance."
He might be well into the second half of his professional career but Lee Westwood is a player certainly good enough to win an event such as this if all the planets align this week.
He brings a point of difference to a tournament with a point of difference.
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