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International: Lee Westwood

Lee Westwood, a man with great affinity for a country he knows well and that played a major role in his rise to the top of the world golf. Matt Bellotti caught up with Westwood on Tour, ahead of the 2014 MMO.

by / Published: 31 Oct 2014

International: Lee Westwood

The Maybank Malaysian Open returns to Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club this April 2014, bringing with it Lee Westwood, a man with great affinity for a country he knows well and that played a major role in his rise to the top of the world golf. We caught up with Westwood on Tour, ahead of the 2014 MMO. 

 
Expatriate Lifestyle: It’s 17 years since you lifted the Malaysian Open. How does it feel to come back and are you confident of your chances at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club for the week?
 
Lee Westwood: I have always loved Asia ever since I first visited in the mid-1990s and I try to return whenever my schedule permits. One way or another, it will be a great week at the Maybank Malaysian Open and I’m delighted I will be a part of it.
 
 
EL: How do you approach moving between contrasting courses and conditions? And, especially, how will you prepare for the high humidity and unique challenges of playing golf in Malaysia?
 
LW: It was the late, great Seve Ballesteros who once said: “To be a professional golfer you have to be able to play on any course, sleep in any bed and eat at any table.” How true. As for Malaysia, when you think you’ve drunk enough water, drink some more.
 
 
EL: What are your top priorities for 2014?
 
LW: The same as for any year. To do the best I possibly can every time I tee up. I’m not sure it’s a good thing to set too many goals because if you don’t attain them, it could be counter-productive.
 
  
EL: You have come so close but are still waiting to taste your first Major win. Which do you feel most confident about and where would be your dream place to win your first Major Championship?
 
LW: Of course I’d love to win a Major, and I’d take any. But if I could pick then it would be The Open, wherever the course is, I don’t mind!
 
 
EL: Your work with young golfers has been recognised by the Golf Foundation’s ‘Spirit of Golf ’award. What top advice do you have for young players who enjoy their game and maybe want to make a career of it?
 
LW: The dedication needed to be a top golfer is immense, but if that’s what you are prepared to give then give yourself the best possible chance by getting a PGA approved professional to coach you right from the start and concentrate mostly on the basics—posture, grip and ball position.
 
 
EL: On a more personal side, as your children get older, does travelling so much and being away from them get easier? Do they understand what daddy does and have they shown any early interest in golf?
 
LW: It was my grandfather who introduced me to golf and my father John has taken that on with Sam. Both Sam and Poppy are old enough to understand what I do and Sam loves sport. They’ll be encouraged, but not pushed in whatever area they want to pursue.
 
 
EL: Off the course, you are a big Nottingham Forest fan. Can they finally return to the Premier League this season and how do you find following football or other interests with such a challenging Tour schedule? Do you get much time for non-golf passions?
 
LW: I think Forest will get to the play-offs at least this season after Billy Davies has restored stability to the club. The great thing about satellite television is that I can record and watch later and I try to keep up to date with everything Forest and English football in general. Now I’m living in America, I also follow their sports more closely, although I’m not really into baseball as much as football and basketball.
 
 
EL: Finally, you’ve received so many trophies, awards and accolades over the years, The Nottingham Trent University even named their sports hall after you. Of all your awards and credits you have received, which is the one you treasure most?
 
LW: I am grateful for all the honours I have received, but receiving the OBE from The Queen was very special. 
 
 
Lee Westwood is part of a star line-up at the Maybank Malaysian Open taking place at KLGCC this April 17–20. For more details on the MMO, visit our What’s On section.   

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