Westwood eyes upturn in fortune

  • Last Updated: February 20 2013, 8:08 GMT

One hundred majors and world championships and not one win - but Lee Westwood is hoping number 101 might be different in Tucson this week.

Westwood: Looking for a good run at the Match Play
Westwood: Looking for a good run at the Match Play

England's former world number one finally appeared to get the hang of the Accenture Match Play Championship last year.

After failing to make it past the second round on 11 previous visits to the event Westwood reached the semi-finals before losing to ex-stablemate Rory McIlroy in what was billed at the time as something of a needle match.

This time, seeded seventh, Westwood will face Northern Ireland's current world number one only if both reach Sunday's final - and Westwood might have to overcome Tiger Woods in the last eight for that to happen.

He opens against Rafael Cabrera Bello, the Spaniard who pushed him into second place at last season's Dubai Desert Classic, while McIlroy starts against former amateur team-mate Shane Lowry and Woods against fellow American Charles Howell.

An unusual incentive for Westwood comes on the domestic front.

The 39-year-old moved with his family from Worksop to Florida at the end of last season and the switch from rented accommodation into their own home is taking place this week.

"As well as trying to win a world championship my incentive is to stay as long as possible to get away from box unpacking and the task of unwrapping things," he said.

Asked whether McIlroy's switch from Titleist to Nike clubs might be a problem - the 23-year-old missed the cut in Abu Dhabi last month and has not played competitively since - Westwood was not really interested.

"It's down my list of priorities," he said, adding that he was far more interested in how his new driver was going after smashing the face of his previous one in Los Angeles last week.

Having slipped down the rankings, Westwood has to accept, however, that there is far more outside attention on whether Lowry could upset the odds on McIlroy.

"There are not many people expecting me to win," said world number 68 Lowry, who caused one of the biggest shocks in European Tour history four years ago when he lifted the Irish Open as an amateur - with McIlroy in the field.

"I think there will be a lot of people watching back home and if I win it will be pretty big, but obviously it's going to be a very difficult match."

Ireland's other two players in this week's line-up, Graeme McDowell and Padraig Harrington, also face each other.


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