SAN FRANCISCO -- Lee Westwood plans to move to the United States at the end of the year.
A 10th-place finish at the U.S. Open, where his hopes were scuppered by losing a ball up a tree on the fifth hole of his final round, was the world No. 3's 57th attempt to win a major.
2012 U.S. OPEN
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BMW INTERNATIONAL OPEN
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Only two years ago, Westwood, now 39, was saying he did not want to join the PGA Tour for family reasons. But after changing his mind on that, he has now decided to take a far bigger step.
"There are a number of reasons, but the main one is I haven't got that much time left at the top and I want to give myself the best chance of staying there as long as I can," he said. "I am moving to America at the end of this year because with our weather (in England), it is hard to practice when you want to practice."
Westwood has an 11-year-old son, Sam, and eight-year-old daughter, Poppy.
The Ryder Cup star, who still intends to retain his European Tour membership, has won 40 times as a professional, but only twice in the States – in New Orleans in 1998 and then in Memphis two years ago.
Both came the week before a major, but he is still chasing that dream.
The U.S. Open was his 14th top-10 finish and seven of them have been top 3s. The only other player in golf history to have as many as that without winning was “Lighthorse” Harry Cooper between 1925 and 1938.
Westwood was tied for third, three strokes behind then-leader Jim Furyk, when he lost the ball in the tree.
Lee Janzen thought the same had happened to him on the same hole in 1998, but as he walked back to the tee the ball came out of the branches and he went on to win.
Westwood used some binoculars to try to locate his, but to no avail. He double bogeyed and by the time he almost made a double eagle on the long 17th he was too far back.
Most of Europe's stars are now members of the PGA Tour as well.
World No. 1 Luke Donald has based himself in Chicago since his college days, while Justin Rose and Ian Poulter moved their families to Florida. Paul Casey lives in Arizona, while Rory McIlroy rejoined the PGA Tour this year following his U.S. Open victory, and Graeme McDowell also divides his time.