Golf-Westwood must sort out `shocking' putting - Cowen

Reuters

Wed, 20 Jul 14:32:00 2011

Lee Westwood's putting at the British Open last week was "shocking" and the world number two must sort it out to end his major drought, according to his coach Pete Cowen.

The man who guided Darren Clarke to victory in the Open on Sunday has worked with the Northern Irishman and his good friend Westwood for many years.

"Someone like Lee can have a slightly better than average putting week and probably still win. His putting was shocking last week. He was second in greens in regulation I think and missed the cut," Cowen told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Westwood's putting has long been his Achilles heel but he would have taken heart from watching the 42-year-old Clarke win the year's third major, becoming the oldest British Open champion since 1967 and oldest major winner since 1995.

"You just need a little bit of luck here and there, and a good putting week. We're going to sort that out this week. We'll have it sorted by the U.S. PGA Championship that's for sure," added Cowen who has also coached 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen.

The U.S. PGA starts in Atlanta on Aug. 11, the last chance of the year for the 38-year-old Westwood to lose the tag of being one of the best players never to have won a major.

"People put so much emphasis on majors, but you can't try and peak for majors," Cowen said. "You're either playing well or you aren't. So you need to be a good player all the time, being competitive week in week out."

Consistency is what Westwood and world number one Luke Donald do very well and their reward, alongside 2010 U.S. PGA Championship winner Martin Kaymer, has been to top the rankings since 14-times major winner Tiger Woods was toppled last year.

Fifteen players have climbed to the head of the rankings, with Donald and Westwood the only two who have not won one of the big-four tournaments.

"People who win majors out the blue, like Todd Hamilton (2004 British Open) or Paul Lawrie (1999 British Open), they don't sustain good golf for 20 years, whereas you look at Lee and he's been at the top of the game for an awful long time." Cowen said.

"But there's no doubt about it, you will be defined by majors. Being at the top of the rankings doesn't guarantee you winning a major."

Cowen said the search for improvement should spur Clarke to more consistent performances and Westwood to the title he craves most.

"I always say 'The road to success is always under construction you never actually get there'. That's something you've always got to be aware of. How are you going to get a little bit better?"

 

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