2014 PGA Championship Round 1 interview with: LEE WESTWOOD
KELLY ELBIN: Lee Westwood with a 5‑under par,65 is his best single round score in the PGA Championship, and matches the 65 he shot in the third round of the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club for best in any major championship.
Congratulations on the fine play, especially those last four holes.
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, thank you. I played well all day. I got off to a nice, steady start. Hit a lot of good shots. Hit a lot of fairways. Putted very nicely and just really carried on from the final round last week. So yeah, it was a good round of golf.
KELLY ELBIN: You came off a 63 in the final round at Firestone. Today, nine birdies, an unusual double‑bogey at 1, but can you go through the distance of the birdies.
LEE WESTWOOD: Get the double‑bogey out of the way I think. Drove it down the fairway into a divot and it wasn't fully filled and it rolled right to the end of it and it was like caught or plugged. So it would have been a perfect 9‑iron from the fairway and just unlucky. Caught it a bit heavy. Came up short of the trap. I had a really tricky chip and tried to get it too cute. Chipped to four feet and missed it. I was in a good frame of mind on the second tee.
But the birdies, starting at 10, I holed from about 20 feet I guess for birdie.
15 feet at 14.
Missed from about six feet at 15 for par.
Holed from about five feet at 17.
18 inches at 18.
Four from about four feet for birdie there.
6, I actually hit it in a pitchmark in the fairway there and then played a great shot from 237, about 15 feet behind the hole and made that.
Driver, rescue, just short right of the green on 7. Putted up five feet short, rolled that in.
6‑iron to about 18 feet on 8. Rolled that in.
Then hit in a divot on 9 in the fairway. Trapped a 9‑iron up there about 35 feet past the hole and then rolled that one in.
KELLY ELBIN: Terrific round and Lee needed only 25 putts for the round.
Q. What was it, if anything, that clicked last Sunday, and you touched on this, but what influence did that have on what happened this afternoon?
LEE WESTWOOD: I think it probably clicked before then. I started to feel like my swing was coming around. I've got Mike down at Old Palm the Monday before last week, and we did some work. That tends to be when I do my best work, on the range away from tournaments, and started to hit it well and got a few good feelings in my swing.
It was very frustrating the first three days at Firestone. I was playing a lot better than the scores were showing, so it was nice to shoot 63 on Sunday and turn good swing and good technique into a good score. That obviously gave me some confidence coming into this week. Just tried to sort of almost take it easy in the practice rounds. Played nine holes each day. Didn't want to drain myself, especially with the heat.
Tried to, you know, just keep thinking about the final round last week and carry it into today.
Q. Do you think you've become a more patient golfer; that even when it wasn't producing, you were able to just wait for it to happen?
LEE WESTWOOD: No (speaking sharply) (laughter).
I'm just not a patient person and I get frustrated really quickly when I know I can play better than I'm actually doing. That's where a good caddie comes in, sort of talks to you calmly and says, you know, just keep doing what you're doing and it will come. Hate those words from him. But he's right.
You know, it's a frustrating game. Anybody in this room that plays it knows how frustrating it is and how much it can get to you, and how much you can swear. Yeah, it's part of the game.
Q. Obviously the numbers say that it's arguably your best round in a major. Did it feel like that out there, especially with the couple of unlucky breaks you had?
LEE WESTWOOD: Well, you say it's my lowest round in a major, making a double in there. It's obviously a good round of golf. I've played better rounds of golf but I was really pleased with today. I hit a lot of quality iron shots, and it felt like 65 was a fair enough score for the way I played. I got a couple of bad breaks out there, but you know, I rolled a couple of putts in, like the one on 9 that you probably wouldn't expect to hole. But that's just the way it is. A bit of momentum is a wonderful thing.
Q. Have you been doing extra fitness work, because you're looking in quite good nick.
LEE WESTWOOD: Very nice of you to say and notice. Which part of me? (Laughter).
I've hit the gym. I think that might have a slight impact. I think when you get to 41, you probably need to do a bit more gym work than I was doing, working on my flexibility and strengthening certain areas. When I'm doing all that, I'm losing a bit of weight, as well, so I guess I'm feeling better about myself.
Q. Do you like it when the temperatures are that much higher in a major like this?
LEE WESTWOOD: Not so much a major championship, but obviously playing in the heat, I think all these weeks, World Golf Championships ‑‑ well, they are all big this time of year. But when it's hot, it becomes a demanding week and it obviously helps to be a bit fitter I think.
Q. What were your memories coming in here from 2008, if they are fit to print; and secondly, what's your view on the current status of the standings? Obviously you said on the weekend you had shown Paul McGinley some form and this has obviously continued.
LEE WESTWOOD: One of my thoughts from The Ryder Cup when it was here was disappointment, really, obviously because we lost. But I don't think the team as a whole played particularly well.
So that was my overriding thought of that week. If you tell me where I am in the standings, I'll give you my opinion on it. I don't even know what position I'm in ‑‑ which one am I better in? Obviously I'm not in the team at the moment, but I've had chats with Paul and he said, you know, try and show some form. I don't know whether he's just looking for a reason to pick me, but I've shot 63 last Sunday and I'm leading a major this week. So I'm ticking that box for him, and I think he probably looks back at my record and sees that I've played eight, so knows that I've got a fair amount of experience in Ryder Cups.
Oh, there, look at that, he's put the standings in front of me.
KELLY ELBIN: Looks like you're a little bit better in the World Points list.
LEE WESTWOOD: I'm there or thereabouts. I wouldn't be a million miles away with a good week this week. That's what I'm trying to do. I'm still trying to qualify for the team to free up a pick for Paul. I don't want to rely on a pick. I always think that there comes a bit more pressure if you're a selection, as well, obviously, because you've got to try and sort of justify your pick almost. And I don't want to be in that position. I'd rather qualify for the team.
Q. Could you please talk about the course, how it's changed since 2008? They did a lot of renovations here three years ago and a little bit about the conditions today, what you encountered.
LEE WESTWOOD: I think probably because it's a bit later in the year, maybe it was a bit drier and firmer, maybe the ball was running a little bit more.
I don't really remember; I blocked 2008 out, so I don't remember too much about the golf course. But people have told me that certain greens have changed, if not all of them, but to me, it plays fairly similar. It's not like I walked out there and played a practice round and thought, wow, this has changed a lot.
I think maybe 17, there's a new tee been put in which is possibly one of the most pointless new tees I've ever seen. It actually makes the hole play worse. It's a great hole off the tee we played today, and the back tee is completely pointless in my opinion. But I think sometimes that's done just to stretch golf courses out and give a total yardage.
But I think the golf course plays well. You know, you look at it on the card, there's tough holes out there. I think the second is a good par 4; to say it's been shortened from a par 5, I think it plays really well as a par 4.
Six is a great hole. 16 and 17 off the front tee are good holes. 12 is a tough hole. You know, there's tough holes out there, but it also gives you a chance to score if you hit good shots. Obviously the par 5s are scorable and then 4 is a short par 4. I think it's a nice blend and a nice mix out there. I think that's why you see scoring like you see; if you don't play well, it penalizes you and if you get out of position it penalizes you. But if you play well and you keep it in the fairway, it's scorable, which is what a good golf course is all about.
Q. At Thornhill ‑‑ inaudible ‑‑ was that Mrs. Westwood inspired?
LEE WESTWOOD: Yes, obviously got a connection there. I've played Thornhill. They needed some money and I was happy to do that.
Q. Is that a Darren‑inspired outfit today?
LEE WESTWOOD: I think Darren would have worn that if I had sent him out in an all‑red outfit. He's wearing a Liverpool red outfit which is certainly better than the Everton blue he had on yesterday but I think it's Forest red he's wearing today.
KELLY ELBIN: Lee Westwood in with 65 and a share of the lead at the PGA Championship:
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