Golf: Westwood the nearly man of golf’s majors

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Talented young golfer Matthew Fitzpatrick would be absolutely overjoyed were he to follow anywhere close to the lucrative footsteps of Lee Westwood.

But would hope that if he was good enough and fortunate enough to do so, then he would avoid the cruel tag being attached to Westwood after his latest Major championship near miss - the Nearly Man.

Fitzpatrick, the 18-year-old from Hallamshire Golf Club, ended up at the presentation ceremony at the Open Championship at Muirfield on Sunday which is where many had expected Westwood to be too.

The Sheffield youngster received the silver medal as the leading amateur. Westwood, agonizingly, could only look on and wonder what might have been. As he has done before.

It is another near-miss for the man from Worksop who moved, with his family late last year, to the USA when finally swapping North Notts for the sunnier climes of Palm Beach, Florida.

There is no doubt that Westwood has been one of the most successful golfers ever produced in this country - and certainly the best from this particular region.

Of course, the Nearly Man tag applies only to his inability to land a golf major whilst being so close to one.

He was third at the 2009 Open, third in the 2008 US Open and second in the 2010 Masters and on all three occasions he had been leading.

In the 2010 Masters, he was overtaken by Phil Mickelson’s brilliant last round of 67 and the American left hander ‘hunted down’ Westwood in similar fashion on Sunday when he shot a magnificent 66 to overhaul him.

So a major title continues to elude Westwood although his career has been one of great achievement otherwise - the World’s No 1 golfer twice, topping the European Order of Merit twice and European Golfer of the year on three occasions. In addition to a magnificent 39 professional tour wins, 22 on the European tour which is ninth best of all.

Young Fitzpatrick, now preparing for the British Amateur Championship, would love just a little bit of all that.