Lee Westwood, a golf champion
Having ended last season with two imperious wins in three tournament starts, Lee Westwood, the former world number one and current world number two, is relishing the prospect of carrying his scintillating form into this month’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, which runs January 26-29 at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.
The Englishman, currently enjoying a well-deserved winter break during the festive and New Year period, triumphed in last month’s inaugural Thailand Golf Championship in Bangkok only weeks after he successfully defended his Nedbank Golf Challenge title in Sun City, South Africa.
“What a way to go into my winter break; two wins in three starts including the best golf of my entire career - can’t be bad and the turkey tasted extra special this Christmas,” said the 38-year old, who was also awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List last year. “These triumphs featured some of the best golf I have ever played in any of my 37 worldwide wins.”
With this year’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship featuring arguably the strongest field ever assembled at a Middle East golf tournament, Westwood – whose best Abu Dhabi finish was tied-second in 2008 – will have to rekindle his end-of-year form if he is to scoop the US$2.7million event’s Falcon trophy.
Among the Nottingham-born power hitter’s competitors are defending champion and three-time winner, Martin Kaymer; Luke Donald, the world number one; three reigning Major winners in Charl Schwartzel (US Masters), Rory McIlroy (US Open) and Darren Clarke (British Open); Abu Dhabi debutant and 14-time major winner Tiger Woods; rising Australian star, Jason Day; Korean sensation, KJ Choi; two-time Abu Dhabi champion, Paul Casey; as well as Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority global golf ambassador Matteo Manassero.
“This will be the first time in 2012 you’ll see a field of this quality – so it’s the first chance to see how we are matching up in the new year,” said Westwood, whose electric form in Thailand – particularly on and around the greens, an area he has worked extensively to improve – resulted in a compelling seven-shot victory over Schwartzel. “It’s always rewarding to see hard work paying off and it certainly did before winter. I’m putting better, hitting it better, managing my game well; every aspect of it seems to be improving - hopefully I’ll keep up this form and confidence and head into Abu Dhabi and a new season with real impetus.”
Tickets for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship are available via the event’s official website, www.abudhabigolfchampionship.com, as well as online at www.timeouttickets.com and www.itptickets.com. Phone bookings can be made through the ITP toll-free hotline 800 4669, or for international visitors, +971 4 210 8943.