Westy plays down pressure
Englishman takes heart from Clarke's victory
Last Updated: 26/07/11 4:48pm
Westwood: Considering putting changes
Lee Westwood is determined not to fold under the pressure as he approaches his final chance this year of a first major title.
The world number two went into this month's Open Championship as one of the favourites to win, but failed to make the cut.
The USPGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club from August 11-14 has taken on added significance for the 38-year-old after that flop, but he insists: "If the year was all about Atlanta now I'd have been putting too much pressure on myself.
"The near future's all about getting my putting sorted out and playing well next week in Akron (at the WGC Bridgestone event).
"If the year was all about Atlanta now I'd been putting too much pressure on myself. The near future's all about getting my putting sorted out and playing well next week in Akron. "
Lee Westwood Quotes of the week
"That's a course I enjoy and if I keep hitting the ball as well as I have been I'm going to have a lot of birdie chances, but I need to start making a few of them now.
"I'm not sure if anyone's ever led the greens in regulation after two rounds of The Open and missed the cut.
"It's frustrating because even when I've had good weeks this season (he won in Indonesia and Korea and lost the world number one spot to Luke Donald after a play-off at Wentworth) there's only been a couple of good putting rounds rather than four.
"I'm trying to sort it out at the moment with my dad and with Pete (coach Pete Cowen). We've tossed around a few ideas and I'm working on a few different things."
Westwood went to a belly putter in April, but only for two competitive rounds before switching back to a short one.
His conversations with his friend Darren Clarke have so far been limited to text messages since the Northern Irishman's victory at Sandwich.
Westwood added: "I'm waiting for him to sober up - I think the Guinnesses will be coming thick and fast!
"He's been through a tough time, so it was nice to see something good happen.
"I played with him in the last round in Scotland and then practised with him. You know Clarkey strikes the ball great and if he gets his head round it he's capable. I didn't see that much of his win, but I watched the last few holes."
Clarke is four years older and it ought to serve as a useful reminder to Westwood that time for him to land his first major is not running out yet.
"I don't really compare myself to anybody else and it's not something that particularly bothers me. Obviously somebody winning who's nearly 43, that's five years away and it's a way of not putting pressure on yourself."