Westwood quietly confident

Practice began in earnest on Monday for the 2011 US Open Championship and following the horror heatwave in the north east of the US last week the conditions for the opening round of official practice could not have been better.

The cool morning temperatures gave way to a delightful day with gentle breezes and warm sunny conditions welcoming all to the Congressional Country Club just outside Washington DC.
Not all actually played the golf course but most of those who did not, at least hit balls or took advantage of the short game area or to at least get the feel of the logistics of a "˜Congressional' US Open.

The pace will pick up further tomorrow but world number two Lee Westwood was one who was at the course to play and to fulfil his obligatory media commitments before he focuses fully on the job at hand over the next couple of days before Thursday's opening round.

Westwood highlighted just how tough this tournament is and where it stands in terms of its demands as a major championship. "I think it's probably the toughest test of all four majors. You seem to see the highest score winning here compared to the others. You just have to be very, very patient and not give any shots away unnecessarily.

"If you can make double instead of making triple, that's great. If you can make bogey instead of making double, that's fantastic. It's almost like credit is one less birdie you need if you can make that three or four footer when you need it."

Westwood would add that the set-up this week is going to further increase those demands. "The greens are very firm, which always makes it tough. You start missing fairways, even in the semi, and it's impossible to control your ball. The greens are very firm out there. It's only Monday. I can only imagine they're going to keep firming up.

"If you were going to ask for a setup for a good score, it would be completely opposite to the way they set up a U.S. Open. You don't want soft greens, wide fairways and greens running about 11, and these are going to be running at somewhere around 14, firm and narrow fairways with lots of rough. It's pretty self explanatory, really."

Westwood is happy with the state of his game and I'm hitting the ball very well. "I'm driving it pretty long and straight. My iron shots are fairly crisp, which is good coming into a U.S. Open. My preparation has gone well. I've played well just recently, really since the Masters, after a slowish start to the year.

"There's been a couple of wins in there and obviously lost in a playoff to Luke at the PGA. My confidence is pretty high, and looking forward to this week. The major championships really now are the most exciting part of the year and the ones I look forward to during the year, so it's an exciting week this week."

By tomorrow night when all have played at least 18 holes most will be fully aware of just how exciting this week might be "“ good or bad.

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