Lee Westwood has won over $55 million in his career.

Many people have forgotten that Lee Westwood spent 22 weeks as the No. 1 ranked player in the world in the latter part of 2010 and early 2011. Most golf fans think of him as a very good European Tour player that has not won a major championship.

Westwood will turn 41 years old this week and won the Maybank Malaysian Open for his 23rd European Tour win last Sunday. He also has four wins in Japan, seven on the Asian Tour, three wins on the Sunshine Tour and one Australasia Tour win.

He has two victories on the PGA Tour, the 1998 Freeport-McDermott Classic in New Orleans and the 2010 St. Jude Classic in Memphis.

Prior to the win in Malaysia, his last win came on the European Tour at the 2012 Nordea Masters nearly two years ago.

He has been a major performer on eight European Ryder Cup teams and will, most likely, be a key member of Captain Paul McGinley’s team at Gleneagles in September.

He is just one of a few golfers to win on every continent of the world and has recovered from the depths of golfing disparity. After a very successful start to his golfing career, he completely lost his desire and game. He fell to No. 182 in the world in 2002 before beginning his climb back, culminated by reaching No. 1 at the end of 2010.

Even with the success that Westwood has had in his 20-year career, most golf fans think of him at the top of the dreaded ‘Best Player That Hasn’t Won a Major’ list. He has played very well in majors, but has not been able to win one. Since 2008, he has finished inside the top 10 in 12 of the last 25 major championships.

In that time, he finished T-3 six times and was runner-up twice.

Between the 2012 and 2013 seasons, he even moved his family from England to Florida to be able to practice during the winter and better prepare for the major championships.

His good friend Darren Clarke won the 2011 Open Championship at the age of 42. Ernie Els was also 42, when he won the 2012 Open Championship at Royal Lytham. Phil Mickelson was 43, when he won last year at Muirfield, but Westwood knows his time to win at least one career major is fleeting.

At 41, Westwood still has a couple years remaining, but very few major championships are won by players over 45 years old.

In modern golf history only four men have accomplished that feat. Julius Boros was 48, when he won the 1968 PGA Championship. Jack Nicklaus was 46 in 1986, when he won his sixth green jacket. Jerry Barber won the 1961 PGA Championship at the age of 45 and Hale Irwin was 45, when he won his third U.S. Open title.

Old Tom Morris won the 1867 Open Championship at the age of 46, but the fields were less competitive back then.

Forty wins worldwide, a member of six winning Ryder Cup teams and 22 weeks at No. 1. He has won nearly €30 million on the European Tour and another $16 million on the PGA Tour.

Westwood has had a career worthy of World Golf Hall of Fame consideration.

The only jewel missing in his crown is a major championship trophy.

 

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Michelle Wie is all smiles after winning the LPGA Lotte Championship

Michelle Wie is just 24 years old, but has been a professional golfer for nearly 10 years. The LPGA Tour is reluctant to admit membership to young women under the age of 18. Rather than fight the LPGA Tour for spots in their tournaments, when she turned professional at the age of 15, Wie and her parents decided to play several PGA Tour events and build her brand name for huge endorsement dollars.

At the age of 10, she became the youngest woman ever to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Amateur and she won the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship at 15 years old.

From 2003 to 2006, Wie posted top-10 finishes in seven of the 12 women’s major championships that she entered. She was low amateur in six of those events prior to turning professional.

In 2008 as a professional, she finished T-3 in the Kraft Nabisco, T-5 in the LPGA Championship and T-3 in the U.S. Women’s Open.

She won the 2009 Lorena Ochoa Invitational and the 2010 CN Canadian Women’s Open, but has not fulfilled the promise expected from her over the years.

As is the case with so many young golfing prodigies, other distractions in life can affect a golf game.

Wie decided to attend college and graduated from Stanford in 2012. Golf fans expected her to immediately be a factor on the LPGA Tour. She entered 23 tournaments in 2012 and only posted one top-10 finish. Her total earnings of $158,500 left at No. 64 on the money list and searching for answers.

In 26 starts on the 2013, Wie only finished inside the top 10 on four occasions and ended the year at No. 41 on the money list with $355,000. Wie fell to No. 33 in driving distance and was No. 55 in putting average with 29.88 putts per round. Her confidence was slipping away.

She made the decision to switch to a severely bent over putting style that helps her see the line and start the ball rolling on the correct path.

More importantly than any swing change or practice routine, her long-time coach David Leadbetter advised her to take five weeks away from the game at the end of 2013.

She took that advice and did everything other than play golf in December. She has come back in 2014 with a much better attitude and is once again enjoying being on the golf course.

Even though her putting statistics are not among the top-10 on tour, she is striking the ball with a renewed confidence and leads the LPGA Tour in greens-in-regulation at 81 percent.

With her win at the LPGA Lotte Championship, she is No. 2 in the Race to the CME Globe and No. 1 on the LPGA Tour money list with $616,500 in earnings.

If you want to learn how to swing a golf club correctly, watch Michelle Wie. It is one of the most technically correct golf swings I have ever seen on any golf tour.

She is playing within herself, not forcing drivers off every tee and relying on her magnificent iron play to put her in position to make birdies and pars.

Her game is just right for major championship golf courses.

If she can have a week at a major of just average putting and keep three-putts to a minimum, Wie will be hoisting a major championship trophy in the very near future.

 

 

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The Masters Is the Easiest Major Championship to Win

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You have heard the prognosticators drone on and on about the favorites to win the 2014 Masters. Perhaps 20-25 men, in the field this week at Augusta National, have a realistic chance to win the tournament. The other side of the equation is there are several in the field this week that do not. History [...]

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LPGA Tour’s Big Names in Thailand

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Tom Watson Goes “Old School” For 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup Team

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  Even though the 2014 Ryder Cup will not be contested until the third week of September, it attracts media attention year round.   Captain Tom Watson announced earlier in the week that Raymond Floyd would join the team as an assistant captain for the 2014 Ryder Cup squad. Floyd’s last appearance in a Ryder [...]

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