Westwood hopes to get putting sorted out before PGA Championship

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Even when he's had good weeks this season, Lee Westwood says, his putting has been inconsistent to poor.
By
PA Sport

Series: PGA Championship

Lee Westwood has taken time out from his build-up to the final major of the year to visit six of his golf academies around the country.

England's world No. 2, who flies to America on Sunday, hosted coaching demonstrations in Oxfordshire, Derbyshire and Yorkshire and on Wednesday will be at three more of the centers set up in partnership with the Co-operative and Activate Sport.

2011 PGA CHAMPIONSHIP

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The PGA Championship on Aug. 11-14 has taken on added significance for the 38-year-old after his missed cut at the British Open, when more poor putting cost him dearly.

Darren Clarke's victory, following as it did the Masters success of Charl Schwartzel and runaway U.S. Open win of Rory McIlroy, meant that three of Westwood's stablemates have won the first three majors of the season.

But Westwood is trying not to pile the pressure on himself to make it a so-called "Chubby Slam" for their manager Andrew "Chubby" Chandler.

"If the year was all about Atlanta now, I'd been putting too much pressure on myself," he said. "The near future's all about getting my putting sorted out and playing well next week in Akron (at the WGc-Bridgestone Invitational).

"That's a course I enjoy and if I keep hitting the ball as well as I have been I'm going to have a lot of birdie chances, but I need to start making a few of them now,” he explained. "I'm not sure if anyone's ever led the greens in regulation after two rounds of the Open and missed the cut.

"It's frustrating because even when I've had good weeks this season (he won in Indonesia and Korea and lost the world No. 1 spot to Luke Donald after a playoff at Wentworth) there's only been a couple of good putting rounds rather than four,” he added. "I'm trying to sort it out at the moment with my dad and with Pete (coach Pete Cowen). We've tossed around a few ideas and I'm working on a few different things."

Westwood went to a belly putter in April, but only for two competitive rounds before switching back to a short one.

His conversations with Clarke have so far been limited to text messages.

"I'm waiting for him to sober up,” Westwood joked. “I think the Guinnesses will be coming thick and fast!

"He's been through a tough time, so it was nice to see something good happen,” he said. "I played with him in the last round in Scotland (at the Scottish Open) and then practiced with him. You know Clarkey strikes the ball great and if he gets his head round it, he's capable. I didn't see that much of his win, but I watched the last few holes."

Clarke is four years older than Westwood and that ought to serve as a useful reminder to Westwood that time for him to land his first major is not running out yet.

"I don't really compare myself to anybody else and it's not something that particularly bothers me,” said Westwood. “Obviously somebody winning who's nearly 43, that's five years away and it's a way of not putting pressure on yourself."