ONE hundred majors and world championships and not one win - but Lee Westwood is hoping number 101 might be different in Tucson this week.
England’s former world number one finally appeared to get the hang of the Accenture Match Play Championship last year.
After failing to make it past the second round on 11 previous visits to the event the former Worksop man reached the semi-finals before losing to Rory McIlroy in what was billed as a needle match.
This time, seeded seventh, Westwood will face Northern Ireland’s world number 1 only if both reach Sunday’s final - and Westwood might have to overcome Tiger Woods for that to happen.
He opened yesterday against Rafael Cabrera Bello, the Spaniard who pushed him into second place at last season’s Dubai Classic, while McIlroy starts against former amateur team-mate Shane Lowry and Woods against fellow American Charles Howell.
An unusual incentive for Westwood came on the domestic front. The 39-year-old has moved with his family to Florida and the switch from rented accommodation to their own home is taking place this week. “As well as trying to win a world championship my incentive is to stay as long as possible to get away from box unpacking” he admitted.
Asked whether McIlroy’s switch to Nike clubs might be a problem - the 23-year-old missed the cut in Abu Dhabi last month and has not played competitively since - Westwood was not really interested. “It’s down my list of priorities,” he said, adding that he was more interested in how his new driver was going after smashing the face of his previous one last week.
Having slipped down the rankings, Westwood has to accept that there is far more attention on whether Lowry could upset the odds. “There are not many people expecting me to win,” says world number 68 Lowry, who caused one of the biggest shocks in European Tour history four years ago when he lifted the Irish Open as an amateur.