Can Lee Westwood Conquer Augusta For First Major?

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The 2021 Masters will take place from Thursday 5th to Sunday 11th April, with a limited number of spectators in attendance.  As the first major of the year, and with a global viewing audience, the tournament attracts all the top players keen to win a share of the $11,500,000 purse.  47-year old Lee Westwood will be making his 20th start at the Masters next month and fans are hopeful that he will bag his first Major in Augusta, with expectations on the rise after he finished second in two back-to-back tournaments earlier this month - the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Players Championship. 

Over the years, Westwood’s performances at the Masters have been consistently good.  He has finished in the top 10 six times and was runner-up in 2010 and 2016.  But there is intense competition to don the famous green jacket and American Dustin Johnson, decisive winner of the 2020 Masters, is hot favourite to win again this year, with odds of 8/1 from Betfair.  Bryson Dechambeau and Justin Thomas are also tipped for glory (sharing odds of 11/1 from BetFred) with Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy just a smidge away in the reckoning with odds of 12/1 for Rahm from Boylesports, and identical odds of 14/1 for Spieth and McIlroy from the same bookmaker. In contrast the man from Worksop in Nottinghamshire is considered an outside chance with odds of 33/1 from bet365, but could 2021 be Westwood’s year to beat the odds? 

Westwood, ranked 20th in the world just now, has experienced a renaissance in his career of late, something many are putting down to his positive psyche, bolstered by his relationship with fiance Helen Storey, who became his caddie in 2018 after Westwood split with his previous caddie, Billy Foster.  During the recent Players Championship, Westwood said “I think at my stage of my career, there’s not a lot a caddie can tell me, but obviously Helen gets me in a fantastic mood out there, and psychologically she can help me and say the things that I need to hear.  She helps me in that aspect an immeasurable amount.”   

Westwood would dearly love to win the 2021 Masters, to add to his career tally of 42 international titles across five continents, the most recent of which was the 2020 Abu Dhabi HSBC championship in January last year.  With a career which spans four decades, Westwood remains driven to succeed and the former World Number 1 is acutely aware that the accolade of winning a Major has, so far, eluded him.   

In his quest to be fully prepared for Augusta, he may have been slightly over-ambitious when he appeared at the Honda Classic in Florida last week.  After being back-to-back runner-up at the Arnold Palmer Invitational (when he finished one shot behind Bryson DeChambeau and the Players Championship (when he finished behind Justin Thomas by the same slender margin) he missed the cut in Florida, finishing eight over par after two rounds.  Westwood ruefully acknowledged that "This was probably a tournament too far for me, after the run I've had the last two weeks but I felt like I should play here this week.  In an ideal world this would have been a week off after finishing second the last two weeks. What can you do? It just felt like one I had to play, I kind of glazed over out there, I was so tired."   

Westwood’s son, Sam, was his caddie at Palm Beach Gardens, as Storey was ill last week, and he is expected to continue in this role at Augusta for the Masters.  Westwood believes that his 19-year old son is a capable sub for Storey, saying "Sam is enjoying himself and looking forward to this run of tournaments where he's getting to caddie”.  Fellow player Bryson DeChambeau, however, thinks Storey is a huge part of Westwood’s armoury and her caddying will be missed at Augusta, commenting “I think Helen is a big part of it.  She’s keeping him steady and level headed and she’s a rock. Keeps his mind focused on the right things, and she’s been awesome for him, and that’s one of his secret weapons, I think.” 

The three pre-tournament days commence on Monday 5 April, with the tournament taking place from Thursday 8 April through to the final round on Sunday 11 April.   Lee Westwood and his son will be enjoying what Westwood describes as a “good lads-and-dads trip” to Augusta this year, and we wish the pair luck as Westwood Senior begins his quest once more for that elusive Major title.  

All Odds supplied by WhichBookie.co.uk

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