Packed schedules are better for young players, say Westwood and Ishikawa

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Taking on a hectic playing schedule isn't as much a burde to a younger player as it is to one who's older, says world-wise Lee Westwood.
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Associated Press

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Published: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 | 7:14 p.m.

One key to Lee Westwood’s success was cutting back on his schedule -- finding the right balance that keeps him sharp competitively but still feeling fresh when he plays. It’s one reason he no longer takes up PGA Tour membership.

But when told that Ryo Ishikawa of Japan played 17 consecutive weeks last year, Westwood signaled his approval.

“I played 17 in a row in 1996, and I won my first European Tour event that last week at the Scandinavian Masters,” said Westwood, who was 23 at the time. “It just felt like the right thing to do.”

Westwood felt he was young enough that playing such a big schedule was not a burden.

“I think some young kids don’t play enough,” he said.

Tiger Woods played at least 26 events his first three full seasons (including unofficial events). He said he spoke with Ishikawa about his schedule after their exhibition in Japan a few weeks ago.

What amazed Woods was hearing Ishikawa tell them that he prefers to work on swing changes at tournaments, in competition, instead of solely on the range. That’s where a big schedule helps the Japanese star, who won the Taiheiyo Masters on Sunday for his third victory of the year.