SAN FRANCISCO – Lee Westwood has narrowly lost so many majors – seven times he has been second or third – he doesn’t want to answer any more questions about losing.
He wants to focus on winning. Who can blame him?
“I think I’ve probably been in contention in major championships more than anybody else over the last three or four years,” he said after shooting 67 at The Olympic Club in the third round of the U.S. Open. “So I’m looking forward to tomorrow and hopefully going out and having some fun and seeing what happens.”
Westwood is 2 over par after 54 holes, three strokes behind co-leaders Graeme McDowell and Jim Furyk.
“The main thing is just to go out there and believe I’m good enough,” Westwood said. “I must be. I keep getting myself in contention often enough.”
In the third round, Westwood had five birdies and two bogeys. It could have been better, but he failed to birdie either of the two par 5s coming in – the 16th and 17th, which played 630 yards and 515 yards, respectively – before running in a long putt for a birdie-3 at the 18th.
At 17, he was just off the green in two, but he stubbed his chip shot and then missed a 13-foot birdie putt.
Regardless, he exhibited what could be called the Lee Westwood half-full philosophy.
When asked about Sergio Garcia, who was characterized by the questioner as a golfer who “seemed almost defeated,” Westwood didn’t miss a beat. “I’m not made up like that,” he said. “I’m a half-full-glass-type person.”
Then he stopped to think for a second. “Well, my glass isn’t half-full for long,” he said, tossing out a thinly veiled reference to his well-chronicled habit of drinking beer in social situations.
Westwood, an Englishman who is ranked No. 3 in the Official World Golf Ranking, was laughing and enjoying himself.
Asked about the serious nature of players in this U.S. Open, he said, “You get to look at people’s faces out there, and they’re looking pretty wound up and stressed, aren’t they? There aren’t many smiles. Which is a shame because it’s one of the biggest tournaments of the year and one that I would assume everybody looks forward to.”
Westwood continued to say he would have fun in the final round. Win or lose, he would have fun.
As he talked, a count of logos on his clothing revealed that Westwood’s gregarious, witty personality appears to be a perfect match for several sponsors.
Easily visible on his shirt were the logos of Audemars Piquet watches, Close House Hotel, Dunlop apparel and the Lee Westwood Golf School.
On his cap were Ping, his golf equipment sponsor, along with two Ping golf club names: Anser and G20.
Westwood is aligned with other companies as well: Titleist, FootJoy, Jaguar and Bioflow Sport.
When it comes to sponsors, his glass is not half-full. It is overflowing.
If he wins this U.S. Open, erasing the title of best player never to have won a major, his glass is expected to be empty. Many times over.