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Westwood emerges into the light after spell in wilderness

As he made his way around Augusta National yesterday it was evident that the badge of Nottingham Forest no longer adorns the side of Lee Westwood's golf bag. It has been replaced, very sensibly, by a sticker for the Sheffield children's hospital Sheffield Children's Hospital, part of and the headquarters of the Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust is a purpose-built children's hospital. It provides the A&E service for all minors in Sheffield and some further afield.  charity. Forest remain close to his heart, however, although there was a time, not so long ago, when it looked as though his career might be paralleling their precipitous decline.

If you were being kind, you might have said that the 34-year-old's besetting be·set·ting  
adj.
Constantly troubling or attacking.

besetting
adjective chronic 
 sin was a kind of insouciance in·sou·ci·ance  
n.
Blithe lack of concern; nonchalance.


insouciance
lack of care or concern; a lighthearted attitude. — insouciant, adj.
See also: Attitudes

Noun 1.
. When things went wrong, he seemed not to care quite as much as a professional sportsman must if he is to meet the challenges posed at international level. There was a nice BMW BMW
 in full Bayerische Motoren Werke AG

German automaker. Founded as an aircraft engine manufacturer in 1916, the company assumed the name Bayerische Motoren Werke and became known for its high-speed motorcycles in the 1920s.
 in the players' car park and eventually an executive jet for longer journeys around the world of golf. For a boy from Worksop, that seemed to be enough.

Eventually he started to pay the price. As he moved into his thirties the promise of his early years, when he won European tour events by the fistful fist·ful  
n. pl. fist·fuls
The amount that a fist can hold.

Noun 1. fistful - the quantity that can be held in the hand
handful

containerful - the quantity that a container will hold
 and ended Colin Montgomerie's seven-year monopoly of the order of merit Order of Merit
Noun

Brit an order awarded for outstanding achievement in any field
, seemed to have dribbled away, leaving the ample silhouette of a superior journeyman destined des·tine  
tr.v. des·tined, des·tin·ing, des·tines
1. To determine beforehand; preordain: a foolish scheme destined to fail; a film destined to become a classic.

2.
 to be pursued for the rest of time by the question of what might have been. And then, about 18 months ago, Westwood came to his senses. In his middle thirties, he recognised that he had been coasting through years of severe underachievement. So he did something about it.

He is in even better shape now, in all senses. As he battled through yesterday's round, doing his darndest to capitalise on Thursday's excellent 69, there were comments from the sidelines of the kind that normally accompany Colin Montgomerie Colin Stuart Montgomerie, OBE (born June 23, 1963) is a Scottish professional golfer often referred to by his nickname 'Monty'. He has had one of the finest careers in European Tour history, having won a record eight Order of Merit titles including a streak of seven consecutively  on his visits to American courses.

"He musta lost at least 15 or 20 pounds," one onlooker said. Three kilos, actually, along with five inches from his waistband. Like Montgomerie, Westwood translated the weight reduction into more efficient and effective golf. The last year has been pretty good for him, to the extent that he came into this edition of the Masters as some people's favourite to be the leading European in the tournament.

"I nominated Westwood as my dark horse before the start of the week," Sandy Lyle Alexander Walter Barr "Sandy" Lyle, MBE (born February 9, 1958) is a Scottish golfer. Lyle was born in Shrewsbury, England and represented Scotland during his professional career. Along with Nick Faldo and Ian Woosnam, he became one of Britain's top golfers during the 1980s. , the 1988 champion, said after completing his own round yesterday (FRI). "I think he's about as here as he can get in terms of perfection for himself. You can always be better but he's worked hard on his game and his confidence is high."

He was a dark horse of a different kind on Thursday night, when his group chose to play their final three holes in the twilight rather than call a halt and come back to complete the round yesterday morning. Possibly as a result, since the gathering darkness must have distorted perceptions of distance and direction, the Englishman missed a good birdie chance on the 16th, which would have taken him into a clear lead for the day, and then dropped a shot on the penultimate hole. On the 18th hole it was so dark that the players could hardly see each other across the green. Nick Faldo Nicholas "Nick" Alexander Faldo MBE (born 18 July 1957) is an English golfer on the European Tour, and one of Europe's most successful players of all time. Over his career, he has won three Open Championship titles and three US Masters titles. He was ranked the World No. , his Ryder Cup Ryder Cup

Biennial team golf event first held in 1927. It was originally played between teams of golfers from the U.S. and Britain; since 1979 players opposing the U.S. have been chosen from all of Europe. The trophy was donated by the British seed merchant Samuel Ryder.
 captain later this summer, was critical of his decision to continue into the dusk and beyond.

Starting the second round a stroke behind the two overnight leaders, Westwood looked steady and composed as he went through the first seven holes in regulation figures. At the par-five eighth his second shot landed on the sideslope of a hillock hillock /hill·ock/ (hil´ok) a small prominence or elevation.

hill·ock
n.
A small protuberance or elevation, as from an organ, a tissue, or other structure.
 guarding the green, and his experience paid off when he struck the shrewdest of bump-and-run shots through the undulations to within 4ft of the hole, presenting him with his first birdie of the round. "That shot was the fruit of all the work I've done my short game," he said afterwards. "Thanks for noticing."

Disappointingly, on a good day for moving up the scoreboard, it did not prove to be the start of a charge. Most of the potential birdie chances were from 20 to 30ft, and his putter was not co-operating. At the very difficult 11th, however, he struck a 40ft putt which barely made it through 20ft of fringe before rolling across the final 20ft of green so slowly that its motion seemed to defy the laws of physics. Amen Corner rose as the ball trickled to within a couple of feet of the cup.

Disaster struck at the long 13th, however, when his approach shot hit the bank in front of the green and fell back into the water. Two shots were dropped, not to be recovered as he came in with a 73, and two under par for the tournament.

"I played a lot of good shots and had a lot of birdie opportunities," he said. "But I didn't really make the most of it. I could have been quite easily standing here with a 67 and eight under. But anybody who makes the cut has got a chance of winning and I'm in fairly good shape for the weekend."
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Author:guardian.co.uk
Publication:guardian.co.uk
Date:Apr 12, 2008
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