Lee Westwood enjoyed his draw with World Champion No. 1 and reigning Champion Dustin Johnson at the Masters.

0

Lee Westwood enjoys a dream first-round draw alongside defending champion Dustin Johnson as he runs to crown his 20th Masters by becoming the tournament’s oldest winner.

‘Placing me with DJ shows that they still have to think I’m a contender!’ said the Englishman, who turns 48 later this month.

“I think the back-to-back runner-up finishes I had in Florida last month confirmed that I can still compete for the big prizes, and I always enjoy playing with Dustin. You couldn’t ask for a better draw than playing alongside the world’s best golfer. ‘

Lee Westwood is desperate to become the oldest Masters winner of all time this week

Westwood has been linked to World No. 1 and reigning Champion Dustin Johnson in Augusta

Westwood has been linked to World No. 1 and reigning Champion Dustin Johnson in Augusta

Westwood has been linked to World No. 1 and reigning Champion Dustin Johnson in Augusta

Westwood will have his teenage son Sam as his caddy in what he hopes will turn out to be a good omen.

When Jack Nicklaus became the oldest Masters winner in 1986 at the age of 46, he had his son Jackie in his pocket. The third member of the group is American amateur champion Tyler Strafaci.

They start on Thursday at 10.30am (3.30pm UK time), just ahead of Rory McIlroy – who will play alongside Jon Rahm and Xander Schauffele.

Bryson DeChambeau will not release his howitzers in the company of Adam Scott and Max Homa until 6:36 p.m. UK time, while Jordan Spieth will be in the last group of all at 7 p.m. – along with PGA Champion Collin Morikawa and runner-up in the Masters from last year’s Cameron Smith.

Westwood also admitted that he will draw inspiration from his ties with Nicklaus as he strives to break the record of the 18-time Grand Winner of oldest Masters champion.

Westwood will celebrate its 48th birthday just 13 days after the end of the 85th Masters.

“Even without it, Jack has always been an inspiration to the way he played the game, especially his record here,” Westwood said. ‘You can’t resist being inspired. There are a few similarities with age. It would be great to break his record.

‘I saw Jack at the Honda (Classic) a few weeks ago and I still remember the first time I played this tournament in 1997.

Westwood is inspired by golf icon Jack Nicklaus, who won in 1986 at the age of 46

Westwood is inspired by golf icon Jack Nicklaus, who won in 1986 at the age of 46

Westwood is inspired by golf icon Jack Nicklaus, who won in 1986 at the age of 46

‘I played the last round with Jack and I went out on Saturday night and bought the picture, the iconic (from 1986) where he follows the ball into the hole at 17 with his putter.

And after we played on Sunday, luckily I had done enough to qualify for the following year, and I said to Jack, “Would you mind autographing this picture for me?” And I still have it all framed to this day where he has put down, “Lee, enjoyed our round, best wishes, Jack Nicklaus”.

‘There are very few people you would do that with. He is a legend of the game and arguably the best player who has ever played the game. His record in major championships and especially Open Championship and here is unmatched.

“I always enjoy talking to Jack and picking his brains and just being in his company, I really do. Getting the chance to break one of his records would be very special.

Westwood holds the unwanted record for most top-three finishes in a major without a triumph

Westwood holds the unwanted record for most top-three finishes in a major without a triumph

Westwood holds the unwanted record for most top-three finishes in a major without a triumph

‘It’s amazing that I’m old enough to have my son in the bag and still participate in these tournaments, and since Sam can enjoy the experience with me, I have to shut his mouth every now and then when we’re here. go around; he likes it so much. ‘

Westwood holds the unwanted record of most top-three finishes in a major (nine) without winning one, three of which came to Augusta National. The 47-year-old came second to Phil Mickelson in 2010, third in 2012 – two shots from the playoff won by Bubba Watson – and second to Danny Willett in 2016.

In total, the former world number one has made the cut 16 times in 19 appearances in the Masters and has enjoyed excellent form in 2021, finishing second in the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Players Championship.

The former number one in the world has made the cut 16 times in 19 appearances in the Masters

The former number one in the world has made the cut 16 times in 19 appearances in the Masters

The former number one in the world has made the cut 16 times in 19 appearances in the Masters

“It’s really confirmation that at my age I’m still good enough to be out here and compete,” Westwood added. ‘It’s the culmination of many different things.

‘I have clearly worked hard on my game, but I have a good team around me. Steve McGregor, we’re working on the physical fitness of the game. Ben Davies, I work on the mental side of the game and that has made a big difference. Liam James on the swing. Don’t try to forget anyone. There is a large team.

It’s not one thing that makes you play well. Golf has so many different facets. Phil Kenyon on my pit, too. I went to the pencil grip for about two years now, which has made a huge difference.

Westwood played with and spoke to Nicklaus at the Honda Classic tournament in March

Westwood played with and spoke to Nicklaus at the Honda Classic tournament in March

Westwood played with and spoke to Nicklaus at the Honda Classic tournament in March

‘When I come under pressure, I feel more comfortable under pressure. All that and playing well has cultivated confidence.

‘I may not play as well as I often do anymore, but when I play well I tend to compete, and with the work I’ve done on the mental side of the game, I feel a lot more comfortable out there.

“I heard Jordan Spieth say something last week about how he feels comfortable under pressure and that he can handle it. And that’s how I feel when I get in the thick of it and close to the lead. I feel comfortable again. ‘