Lee Westwood, Europes number one golfer

lee westwood top european player
lee westwood top european player

Lee Westwood claimed victory in the Dubai World Championship on Sunday, hitting a stunning course record 64, to finish 23 under par and win the tournament by six shots from Ross McGowan.

The prize money for winning the Championship, around £740,000, means that Westwood clinches the Race to Dubai Order of Merit title ahead of Rory McIlroy.

The twenty year old Irishman McIlroy will be disapointed having led the Race to Dubai ahead of the tournament by £114,000 from Westwood, but concedes that Westwood’s form in Dubai deserved the win, he said;

“Leading coming in to this week and then finishing third, most times that would have been enough, but Lee was different class and he deserves it,” said McIlroy. He’s been through the highs and the lows. He’s number five in the world and he will climb higher after this. He’s got his reward for the golf he’s played over the last two years.

I knew there was no chance. I was just trying to play for second place. I gave it my best shot. It’s been a great season and I have no complaints. I could have been happier with how it ended, but it’s been a great stepping stone and I’m looking forward to next year (on the US tour).”

Westwood had indeed played some of the finest golf of his career in Dubai, something that he himself acknowledged when he said after claiming the title;

“I’m a bit speechless. I played fantastic at the weekend. I played well at the start of the week, but 66 and 64 will take some catching,” said Westwood. It’s as good as I’ve ever played, especially under this pressure. It gives me so much confidence and it’s definitely the biggest moment of my career.

Every credit to Rory, to be leading the Order of Merit and then finish third you would expect to win, so commiserations to him.”

Westwood added that ending the season as Europe’s number one was more satisfying second time around, claiming that in 2000 when he reached the same position he was too young to appreciate it as his career up until then had only known highs.

When he adds, “Then I went through a low that was well documented and it has been a long way back. This is the best day of my career,”, you know he really does mean it.

A great time to start thinking about a winter ski holiday, a great way to part with some of those winnings!

Phil Mickelson wins HSBC Champions Tournament

phil mickelson
phil mickelson

Phil Mickelson won the HSBC Champions Tournament in Shanghai by one shot to become the first player to win the tournament twice, his first win was in 2007, and also to end what has been a distracting year for the American, having taken time out to care for both his wife and mother who were both diagnosed with cancer during the year.

South African Ernie Els mounted pressure on Mickelson by hitting a stupendous round of nine under par 63, claiming a course record, but he was unable to unseat the leader and was left to ponder what might have been when he hit his only bogey of the day on the 18th after hitting his approach shot into the water in front of the green.

Tiger Woods had a less than impressive final day ending five shots behind the leader and one behind fifth placed Nick Watney, who had shared the lead at the half way stage.

Ryan Moore finished the tournament in third place, followed by Rory McIlroy in fourth, finishing on 14 under par and boosting his Race to Dubai bid and equalling the course record of 63 in the process.

Phil Mickelson said after the win;

“It feels terrific. It’s my last event of the year and to finish the year like this is just wonderful. Ernie and Rory McIlroy played one of the greatest rounds and I was fortunate to come out on top. It feels good because I had to fight very hard.”

Volvo World Matchplay Championship draw keeps top four apart

lee westwood leads the european money list
lee westwood leads the european money list

The top four players on the European money list have managed to avoid each other in the draw for the Volvo World Matchplay Championship in Spain. The group stages will be played at Finca Cortesin close to Marbella and will take place on the 18th green, with the semi finals on Saturday and the final on Sunday.

To fit all three group games into two days the players in the first two groups play twice on Thursday and those in the last two groups do the same on Friday.

Europe’s top money earners Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy and  Paul Casey have been kept apart for the tournaments new round robin stage.

Current Race to Dubai leader Lee Westwood is seeded second and will be up against Camilo Villegas, Ross Fisher and India’s Jeev Milkha Singh.

Kaymer is up against Sergio Garcia, Robert Allenby and Oliver Wilson, McIlroy’s group is headed by Swede Henrik Stenson and includes Angel Cabrera and Simon Dyson.

The fourth quartet is made up of Paul Casey, returning from a torn rib muscle that has kept him sidelined since the start of August, Retief Goosen, Anthony Kim and Scott Strange.

Casey, Northern Ireland’s McIlroy and Germany’s Kaymer all have the chance to take the European number one spot from Westwood should they make the semi-finals.

European Tour to stage the richest golf tournament

A new end of season European Tour spectacular will become the richest european golf tournament in the world when Dubai hosts a £4.88m ($10m) season-ending event in 2009.The top 60 players on the money list will play in the Dubai World Championship. The winning purse will be a staggering $1,666,660 (£813,800).

The European Tour will also divide a further $10m among its top 15 monet listed golf players and rename the Order of Merit, The Race to Dubai.

The European Tour chief executive George O’Grady says the new season-ending Dubai World Championship represents a milestone for European golf. The addition of the Dubai World Championship – Race to Dubai comes at a time when an increasing number of European players are opting to take part in the PGA Tour in America over the European Tour.