PARIS | On the eve of the 2011 Open Championship, Chubby Chandler, who has managed Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood in all their professional days, was asked to name a winner. Partly because he wanted to keep the pressure off Rory McIlroy (Rory was still on his books at that stage) he came up with a wry, “Why not Darren?”
The then 42-year-old Clarke duly won by 3 from Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson.
Ahead of Royal Troon, Chandler is saying, “Why not Lee?”
Here again, there may be an element of wanting to keep things low key for Danny Willett, another of his clients. However, Chandler is adamant that the 43-year-old Westwood is in a particularly good place at the moment.
Last Tuesday night in Versailles, they went out for dinner – Chandler, Westwood and his girlfriend, Helen Storey, and sundry others. “I looked at Lee and thought to myself that I’d seldom seen him so chirpy, so relaxed,” said the manager. “He was enjoying himself, his humour was sharp.”
In keeping with which, there was so much about Westwood’s performances at The Masters and the US Open to suggest that he is not hopelessly consumed with the idea of “having” to win a major.
He gleaned nothing but encouragement from his share of second place at Augusta: “I hung around and hung around, I didn’t make mistakes.” As for the share of 32nd place which followed his opening 67 at the US Open, he makes plain – as indeed he did at the time – that it was merely a matter of his game not being in good enough shape.
What struck a chord in both of those weeks was the collected way in which he conducted himself in the final rounds. Each time, he did what a conscientious golfer is meant to do in never allowing his disappointment to cloud what was happening to his playing companion.
At Augusta, he encouraged Willett after the latter had overtaken him: “I didn’t find it difficult. I’ve always been conscious of golf being a gentleman’s sport.”
And at Oakmont, he remained 100 percent on the ball when it came to the shenanigans over the Dustin Johnson ruling.
In which connection, he will never quite comprehend how the powers-that-be did not listen to the combined voices of himself, Dustin and their two caddies when they said….READ FULL ARTICLE