2012 PGA Championship preview: Lee Westwood

By Jim Donahue

Having watched fellow Brit Andy Murray capture Olympic gold for his first big championship, England’s Lee Westwood will be looking for some glory of his own in this week’s PGA Championship at Kiawah Island.

Westwood remains without a major championship heading to the Ocean Course in South Carolina. He retains his world No . 4 ranking heading to the season’s final major despite a dismal showing in the WGC–Bridgestone Invitational last week where he shot 81 in the third round. He nearly finished last in the tournament.

Westwood’s best finish in the PGA Championship was third two years ago. He is going to a course designed by Pete Dye, who also designed TPC Sawgrass, which Westwood found troublesome in the Players Championship.

Up until a Top-10 finish at the U.S. Open, Westwood was having another solid season: 1 win, 5 Top-5 finishes and 3 top 20s. But over the last month-plus, his game all but disappeared. To put Westwood’s struggles into perspective for you, his best finish in his last three starts is a T-40 at the Alstom Open de France. His game officially hit rock-bottom over the weekend at Firestone when he posted that 11-over 81 in the third round.

Westwood’s missed more cuts at the PGA Championship (four) than any major he’s played in his career. Not only that, he’s only posted two top-10 finishes in 14 career starts.

Age: 38.

Country: England.

World ranking: 4.

Worldwide wins: 38.

Majors: None.

Best 2012 performances: Won the Scandinavian Masters and the Indonesian Masters.

2012 majors: Masters-T3, US Open-T10, British Open-T45.

Odds to win: +1500

Overview: Westwood appeared a bit edgy about getting closer to 40, and the limited number of players in their 40s to win majors for the first time. He has won twice this year, and he has shored up his chipping. It’s not his strength, but that doesn’t make it a weakness. The PGA Championship is the one major he has not given himself a serious chance of winning. When he tied for third in 2009, he was five shots behind.

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