Tag Archives: westwood

Tiger Woods tops world rankings after Arnold Palmer Invitational win

Tiger back on top of the world after victory march at Arnold Palmer Invitational

: Returns to top 10 with victory in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

June 3, 2012: Returns to top five with win in the Memorial Tournament

2013: Closes gap on leader Rory McIlroy with early-season wins at Farmers Insurance Open and WGC-Cadillac Championship.

March 25, 2013: Returns to number one spot by winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Woods has also won the Farmers Insurance Open and the Cadillac Championship this year as he prepares for next month's Masters.

The 37-year-old, who announced he was in a relationship with skier Lindsey Vonn last week, is the bookies' favourite for Augusta as he bids to win the Green Jacket for a fifth time.

Rickie Fowler was Tiger's playing partner for the final round but his challenge hit the buffers when he put two in the water at the 16th.

More to follow…

The one to watch: The 14-time major champion Woods had plenty of support in Orlando

The one to watch: The 14-time major champion Woods had plenty of support in Orlando

Taste for success: Tiger, with caddie Joe LaCava, has a quick bite to eat as he walks up the sixth fairway

Taste for success: Tiger, with caddie Joe LaCava, has a quick bite to eat as he walks up the sixth fairway

Keeping it interesting: Woods had the odd wobble on the tee but he was able to recover

Keeping it interesting: Woods had the odd wobble on the tee but he was able to recover

Gave it a go: Rickie Fowler was Woods' playing partner for the final round at Bay Hill

Gave it a go: Rickie Fowler was Woods' playing partner for the final round at Bay Hill

THE WORLD No 1s SINCE WOODS

Tiger Woods was world No 1 for 281 weeks in a row between June 12, 2005 and October 30, 2010.

Since then four different players have held top spot:

LEE WESTWOOD (17 weeks)
October 31, 2010 to February 26, 2011

MARTIN KAYMER (Eight weeks)
February 27 to April 23, 2011

WESTWOOD (Five weeks)
April 24, 2011 to May 28, 2011

LUKE DONALD (40 weeks)
May 29, 2011 to March 3, 2012

RORY McILROY (Two weeks)
March 4 to 17, 2012

DONALD (Four weeks)
March 18 to April 14, 2012

McILROY (Two weeks)
April 15 to 28, 2012

DONALD (One week)
April 29 to May 5, 2012

McILROY (Three weeks)
May 6 to 26, 2012

DONALD (11 weeks)
May 27 to August 11, 2012

McILROY (32 weeks)
Aug 12, 2012 to Mar 25 2013

West Brom v Aston Villa live

PREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: West Brom v Aston Villa – as it happens from the Hawthorns

By
Alex Horlock

PUBLISHED:

04:00 GMT, 19 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:06 GMT, 19 January 2013

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Barclays Premier League as West Brom host Aston Villa at the Hawthorns to conclude Saturday''s action. The Baggies will hope three points in the Midlands derby can kick start their push for European football next season, while Paul Lambert will hope victory can ease the pressure on his relegation threatened team.

17.02: We've had a hectic afternoon of top class Premier League action, but it isn't over yet. There's a Midlands derby to look forward to as Aston Villa travel to rivals West Brom in their bid to stop the rot.

Here is West Brom's starting XI: Foster; Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell; Yacob, Brunt; Odemwingie, Morrison, Dorrans; Lukaku

And Aston Villa's: Guzan, Vlaar, Clark, Bennett, Baker, Lowton, Westwood, Delph, N’Zogbia, Agbonlahor, Benteke

Derby day: West Brom host Aston Villa at the Hawthorns as Saturday concludes with the Midlands derby

Derby day: West Brom host Aston Villa at the Hawthorns as Saturday concludes with the Midlands derby

Martin Kaymer wins Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City

Former world No 1 Kaymer shines in Sun City to secure first title of the year

|

UPDATED:

16:17 GMT, 2 December 2012

Martin Kaymer survived a late wobble to hold on for his first title of the year with victory at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City.

The overnight leader bogeyed the 15th hole to see his advantage at the top of the leaderboard cut to one stroke by South Africa's Charl Schwartzel but held his nerve the rest of the way to prevail by two strokes.

Kaymer finished on eight under par overall, with Schwartzel at six under and American Bill Haas alone in third, three strokes further back.

Long wait: Kaymer won his first title of the year in Sun City

Long wait: Kaymer won his first title of the year in Sun City

Long wait: Kaymer won his first title of the year in Sun City

South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen began the final round just one stroke behind Kaymer, but a 74 saw his challenge run out of steam and he ended in fourth place on two under, one stroke ahead of defending two-time champion Lee Westwood of England, who carded a 73.

Scotland's Paul Lawrie, the leader after the second round, went over par for the second day running as he managed 74 to finish in sixth place overall.

Kaymer famously sank the putt that ensured Europe retained the Ryder Cup earlier this year, but on a personal level this season has been a disappointment for the German.

And he admitted that as the opportunity to finally break his year-long victory drought edged closer, nerves began to tell.

Clinging on: Kaymer bogeyed the 15th hole

Clinging on: Kaymer bogeyed the 15th hole

Clinging on: Kaymer bogeyed the 15th hole

'It was always tight,' Kaymer told reporters.

'Charl played a great round of golf and I was telling (my caddie) that I need a win. I need a win in 2012.'

Rainy conditions on the final day at Gary Player Country Club were in keeping with the previous three, meaning yet again that scores were kept in check by the weather.

No-one shot better than 69 all week, and that mark was again achieved by Kaymer on Sunday having also managed a three-under total over the second round.

The German began in positive fashion on Sunday, hitting a brilliant eagle on the second only to see his hard work erased with a double-bogey at three.

Birdies at nine, 10 and 11 took him clear of the pack again, although Schwartzel's birdie on the 14th trimmed the lead to one.

Swinging in the rain: Schwartzel made a late bid for the title

Swinging in the rain: Schwartzel made a late bid for the title

Swinging in the rain: Schwartzel made a late bid for the title

Kaymer hacked his way out of the rough to make an unlikely birdie on 14 and take his lead back out to two, but a bogey at the next meant the pressure stayed on.

Schwartzel's victory bid finally stuttered as he committed his first bogey of the day at the 17th, as Kaymer made par the rest of the way to close out an overdue victory.

'I'm very happy to finally win this year, that was the most important thing for me, because I was practising very hard,' Kaymer added.

'I played very well the last few weeks and months, but it just did not happen for me on the golf course.

'I said to Craig, my caddy, we have to win one tournament every year and this is our last chance. Fortunately we could bring it home.'

Lee Westwood to play Greg Norman for short-game returns – Derek Lawrenson

Long-haul Lee swims with the Shark for short-game returns

|

UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 26 November 2012

Where next for Lee Westwood in his search for salvation on and around the greens Here’s an eye-catching name – Greg Norman.

Before anyone adds the Aussie great to the long list of hired help Westwood has acquired over the years in the short-game department, it should be said that seeing Norman will be more along the lines of two friends getting together for some social golf and bouncing ideas off one another.

‘Lee has always been an admirer of Greg’s short-game technique,’ said Westwood’s manager Chubby Chandler. So it is that when the Englishman begins his brave new adventure in Florida in January he will seek out a long-time pal and neighbour for some brain-storming.

Old pals: Lee Westwood (right) with Australian legend Greg Norman

Old pals: Lee Westwood (right) with Australian legend Greg Norman

Not just Norman, either. Nick Price, another legend with a gossamer touch, also lives in the vicinity. Then there are contemporaries Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen, who are both moving to the same gated community as Westwood at Old Palm, near Fort Lauderdale. There’s also Ernie Els and Luke Donald.

This will be the first time in his career that Westwood will play some serious social golf against players of his own calibre. Up to now, he has always lived miles from anyone, in Worksop. Imagine what difference it might make to his short game mixing with the likes of Norman and Els, and playing regular $100 money games with a competitive edge.

It can only help in terms of sharpness, can’t it The Norman connection is particularly intriguing. One of the finest victories of Westwood’s career came as a young man playing against the Shark in his ferocious prime at the Australian Open. It gave Westwood the belief to go on an astonishing run that would see him claim 17 more victories over the next three seasons.

Fifteen years on, could the wily Norman prove the catalyst once more We can but hope.

More from Derek Lawrenson…

Derek Lawrenson: If Augusta can see sense on women members, why can't the R&A
12/11/12

Derek Lawrenson: It's already been a November to remember
05/11/12

Derek Lawrenson: HSBC Championship shows golf faces hurricane alert over fees
29/10/12

World of Golf: Rose blooming, so let’s not rake over the coals
22/10/12

Derek Lawrenson: Overpaid Most earnings aren't on a par with Rose's fortune
15/10/12

Derek Lawrenson: It's a Turkish delight as eight greats battle it out for big bucks
08/10/12

Derek Lawrenson: Why we should be saying Yanks for the memories to gracious losers
01/10/12

Derek Lawrenson: McIlroy a victim of trash talk in American press ahead of Ryder Cup
24/09/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

About time too

Given the chronic lack of tournament golf in England at a time of vast riches in the playing department, the idea of three events taking place in the country in 2014 is a pleasant one indeed.

Traditionalists too will be cheered immensely by the prospect of the Volvo World Match Play returning home, if only for one year. This event has been held in Spain for the last two years and will break new ground in Bulgaria next season. The idea after that is for it to rotate between three nations, with England next up.

If the plan comes to fruition, it would mean two events in England in May — the other being the flagship PGA Championship at Wentworth — alongside The Open at Royal Liverpool in July.

Quote of the week

‘Every goal I set myself at the start of 2012 I’ve achieved this year. It really doesn’t get any better than that and I’m already excited about 2013.’

How typical that while patting himself on the back with one hand, Rory McIlroy should be driving himself forward with the other. Rory’s era has begun in truly thrilling fashion.

Simply the best: Rory McIlroy has enjoyed a quite brilliant year on the course

Simply the best: Rory McIlroy has enjoyed a quite brilliant year on the course

Long putter: Open champion Ernie Els

Long putter: Open champion Ernie Els

Belly rumbles

Is tomorrow the big day in terms of a decision from the governing bodies regarding the vexed subject of the belly putter

Such were the whispers in Dubai last week. ‘We’re about to have some fun and games,’ said Luke Donald, smiling.

Rather than a straight ban, most of the money is on a form of wording that effectively prevents any player from anchoring a putter to his body. Which would be a smart way of effectively bringing in a ban while reducing the chances of this ending up in a messy court battle — the fun and games to which Donald refers.

No changes to the Rules of Golf can be introduced until the next review in 2016, but there is some talk it will be introduced in the professional game before then. Among the players who would be affected are three of the last five major winners — Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Ernie Els.

Bold course for new ideas

Any talk of changes to the Old Course at St Andrews is always a move into ‘painting a moustache on the face of the Mona Lisa’ territory.

So it was that the Royal and Ancient Golf Club got another shellacking last week following the announcement, in conjunction with the St Andrews Links Trust who manage the course, of a number of changes before The Open is held there in 2015. It has to be said, some of the planned amendments sound positively radical.

Widening the Road Hole bunker and recontouring the area around it, for example; the first alterations to the 11th green for about 250 years.

Let’s go easy on the outrage, however, and have a little faith in the two bodies in question. After all, they have more to lose than anyone.

Adam Scott, Keegan Bradley, Ernie Els and Co wait to hear if long putters will be banned

Scott, Bradley, Els and Co wait to hear if controversial long putters will be banned

|

UPDATED:

11:08 GMT, 26 November 2012

Golfers around the world are waiting to hear if long putters are to be banned – or at least the way many currently use them is banned.

But one influential voice is urging professionals not to take radical action even if they do not like having to change.

European Tour chief executive George O'Grady said: 'Speaking personally on behalf of the Tour, one of our great facets is that we are connected to the game that every amateur can play as well.

Verdict: Long putters could be banned from the game

Verdict: Long putters could be banned from the game

Justin Rose feels the fourth

Justin Rose

Justin Rose's closing 62 for second
place behind Rory McIlroy in the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai has
taken him to fourth in the world – his highest placing.

But by finishing only joint 48th in
the 56-strong field, Lee Westwood has dropped to sixth – his lowest
position for over three years.

'We could go separately. I would urge the Tour to follow the rules as laid down by the governing bodies.

'We are a very strong lobbyist, our views being sought all the time. There's been a lot of discussion throughout the year with the USGA (United States Golf Association) and the R&A (Royal and Ancient Club) and the PGA Tour.

'I think the rules-making bodies have to do what they think is right for the game.

'The view of our leading members and our players must be listened to, but I haven't heard one of our members want to break away at the moment. They want to be connected to the game.'

The issue has come to the fore with three of the last five major champions – Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Ernie Els – among those using long putters.

Nobody had ever won a major with one until Bradley's victory at the USPGA Championship last year.

Peter Dawson, the R&A chief executive, said in July after The Open: 'Anchoring is what we're looking at -method of stroke – and it's all about putting around a fixed pivot point, whether that is in your belly or under your chin or on your chest.

'It has dramatically increased and we're also seeing now people who can putt perfectly well in the conventional way thinking that an anchored stroke gives them an advantage.

'I think that's the fundamental change that we've witnessed in the last couple of years.

'The objections I find from those at elite level are “if people have become failed putters in the conventional way why should they have a crutch to come back and compete against me when I haven't failed in the conventional way” That's the general argument one hears.'

Lee Westwood watches Golden Hoof win on his phone

Ryder Cup hero Westwood watches Golden Hoof win on debut at Kempton

|

UPDATED:

19:47 GMT, 5 November 2012

Golfer Lee Westwood watched his Golden Hoof make a winning debut over hurdles at Kempton via his phone.

His manager Chubby Chandler, who part-owns the four-old-gelding trained by Nicky Henderson, said: ‘Lee’s out in Shanghai at the moment and was watching on his phone.

Debut win: Andrew Tinkler rides Golden Hoof to victory at Kempton

Debut win: Andrew Tinkler rides Golden Hoof to victory at Kempton

‘He (Golden Hoof) is a big baby. Nicky didn’t give us that much encouragement but everything turned out well. It’s terrific fun and we just enjoy the day out.’

Golden Hoof, sent off at 7-2, cruised through much of the race under jockey Andrew Tinkler before scooting clear to beat Rysbrack four and half lengths.

The big disappointment of the race was smart Flat performer Ransom Note who jumped sloppily throughout and eventually finished a well beaten seventh.

Ian Poulter wins WGC HSBC Championship in China

Poulter comes from four behind to win HSBC Champions title by two shots

|

UPDATED:

10:57 GMT, 4 November 2012

Ian Poulter joked about taking two years off after his Ryder Cup heroics. Now he is glad he didn't.

Five weeks on from his unbeaten performance in the victory over the Americans, the 36-year-old today joined Darren Clarke as the only Europeans to win two World Golf Championship titles.

Poulter trailed by nine shots halfway through the HSBC Champions at Mission Hills in China, but two closing rounds of 65 gave him a two-stroke triumph over Open champion Ernie Els and Americans Phil Mickelson, Jason Dufner and Scott Piercy.

Winning in style: Ian Poulter came from four shots down to win the HSBC Champions title

Winning in style: Ian Poulter came from four shots down to win the HSBC Champions title

Sealed with a kiss: Poulter won the title for the second time in his career

Sealed with a kiss: Poulter won the title for the second time in his career

'It's so nice to get my hands on another trophy,' said Poulter, whose last individual success was the Australian Masters last December.

HSBC Champions leaderboard

Click here to see the full leaderboard

'I've been in good form for a while and knew if I did the right things and stayed patient I would be right there. It's been an amazing six weeks.'

What he could not have expected, however, was for both overnight leaders Lee Westwood and Louis Oosthuizen to finish so poorly.

After a third round 61 had brought him level Westwood went three clear early on, but double-bogeyed the short fifth and had three back nine bogeys.

Well done: Poulter is congratulated by Ernie Els

Well done: Poulter is congratulated by Ernie Els

Falling behind: Lee Westwood was the joint leader overnight but could not hold on in the final round

Falling behind: Lee Westwood was the joint leader overnight but could not hold on in the final round

That makes it a total of 100 majors and world championships in his career and the 39-year-old has yet to win one.

Oosthuizen, five clear of the field after 36 holes, also shot only a level par 72 on the low-scoring lay-out and so they dropped back into a tie for sixth place.

Poulter's performance certainly put a smile back on his face after he had let off steam on Twitter on Saturday night about Arsenal's performance at Manchester United.

'Simply not good enough,' he told his 1.3million followers. 'This is not an Arsenal side that can compete. But they are making a profit. I guess someone is happy.

'Bored of watching this s***. Not in the same league. Won't finish top six.'

Chip for glory: Poulter hits a shot on the 17th fairway

Chip for glory: Poulter hits a shot on the 17th fairway

Driving to success: Poulter came out on top in China

Driving to success: Poulter came out on top in China

Poulter was in a tie for fourth with 18 holes to go on the course designed by Ryder Cup captain Jose

Maria Olazabal and still two back despite a front nine 32.

But while Westwood then bogeyed the 10th, 12th and long 15th – a chip from just short of the green rolled down a bank and he thinned his next attempt – his fellow Englishman kept his foot on the accelerator.

An 18-foot putt gave Poulter a fifth birdie of the day on the 10th, he two-putted from the fringe on the 568-yard next and at the 15th he was bunkered in two, but holed another 18-footer.

Following the dragon: Poulter and Els before the trophy presentation

Following the dragon: Poulter and Els before the trophy presentation

Mickelson, Els and defending champion Martin Kaymer had become his biggest dangers by then, but the German's chances went when he fell from joint second to ninth with a triple-bogey on the short 17th.

After finding sand off the tee Kaymer went over the green, then chipped back into the bunker he had just left.

Poulter's lead came down from three to one when Mickelson also birdied the 15th and he bogeyed the 17th, failing to get up and down from right of the green.

Chasing pack: Louis Oosthuizen came sixth

Chasing pack: Louis Oosthuizen came sixth

But the three-time Masters champion took four on the 17th himself, duffing a chip that did not even make the green.

Poulter's bunkered approach to the 460-yard last meant there was still work to be done, but after playing partner Els had just failed with a 45-foot birdie attempt he holed from nine feet for a 21 under par total.

That left Mickelson having to hole his second shot to force a play-off, but he could only par and so with a 68 he had to share the runner-up spot with Els (67), Dufner (64) and Piercy (65).

Poulter was, of course, the happiest man given the fact that world top two Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods both turned the event down. He is now back into the top 20

McIlroy was quickly on with congratulations to his Ryder Cup team-mate, who earned over 743,000 for his week's work.

In the pack: US golfer Phil Mickelson was unable to mount a challenge for the title

In the pack: US golfer Phil Mickelson was unable to mount a challenge for the title

'Ballsy up and down at the last,' said the northern Irishman on Twitter, who preferred to watch his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki play tennis in Bulgaria. 'Wouldn't expect anything less!'

Poulter added: 'It still doesn't give you the kind of same buzz you get playing the Ryder Cup. There's just not quite as much adrenaline in the body.

'I definitely think it is a part continuation of the Ryder Cup and I'm obviously riding that wave as much as I possibly can.

'After two days I felt I was probably too far back with the way Louis was playing, but anything is possible on this course once you get the putter warm and it is hard to close out tournaments sometimes.'

Talking a good game: Poulter show his delight while speaking to the Press after the tournament

Talking a good game: Poulter show his delight while speaking to the Press after the tournament

Two world championships are great, of course, but a major is the biggest dream.

'People keep asking all the time 'when, when, when'. I don't know when and I'm trying really hard – I'll do my best next year.'

With Peter Hanson and Justin Rose only sharing 24th place, McIlroy holds a massive lead of more than 600,000 in the European Tour money list race with only three weeks left – and he is playing all of them.

Mickelson is also at next week's Singapore Open and he said: 'I'll see if I can improve one spot there.
'It was good for me to come back after having not played since the Ryder Cup and pick up where I left off.

'I knew I needed to make some birdies, but the pins were very tough to get close to.'

Els contented himself with a near-miss on his return from an ankle injury.

'It's sore, don't get me wrong, and it was a bit of a physical test for me, but a good week,' he stated.

'And I almost made him think there on 18!'

Justin Rose beats Lee Westwood in Turkish Airlines World Golf Final

Rose almost 1m richer after one-shot victory over Westwood in Turkey

|

UPDATED:

10:05 GMT, 12 October 2012

Justin Rose beat Ryder Cup team-mate Lee Westwood for the second time in three days to win the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final and the 935,000 prize.

Rose had got the better of Westwood in the group stages at Antalya Golf Club before beating 14-time major winner Tiger Woods in the semi-finals.

Westwood had shot a 64 in his final group game and then a stunning round of 61 a few hours later in his semi-final win over former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, but was unable to reproduce such devastating scoring and had to settle for 'just' 1million US Dollars (623,000) as runner-up.

Turkey shoot: Rose claimed the top prize after beating Westwood in Antalya

Turkey shoot: Rose claimed the top prize after beating Westwood in Antalya

Turkish Airlines World Golf Final

Click here for full leaderboard

Rose never trailed in the match after
holing from 25ft for birdie on the first, but saw a two-shot lead cut
in half on the 16th when he surprisingly missed from three feet for
birdie after Westwood had holed from three times the distance.

However, Rose responded superbly with
a long-range birdie two on the 17th to give himself some breathing
space on the last, which proved welcome after Westwood made birdie to
complete a 67 and lose by just one shot.

Second best: Westwood missed out on the big prize by a single shot

Second best: Westwood missed out on the big prize by a single shot

Lee Westwood faces Justin Rose in Turkish Airlines World Golf Final

Rose beats Woods to set up Westwood clash in Turkish Airlines World Golf Final

|

UPDATED:

15:41 GMT, 11 October 2012

Lee Westwood and Justin Rose will battle it out to be crowned winner of the big-money Turkish Airlines World Golf Final.

First prize is 935,000 while the runner-up will take home 623,000.

Rory McIlroy finished last in the eight-man exhibition but the world No 1 will pocket 187,000 for his efforts.

Final fling: Lee Westwood takes on Justin Rose for the first prize in Antalya

Final fling: Lee Westwood takes on Justin Rose for the first prize in Antalya

McIlroy lost all three of his group games in Antalya, including by six shots to Tiger Woods, but was more than happy to spend the afternoon on the beach with girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki instead of contesting the semi-finals.

Those came down to clashes between Woods and Rose and Westwood and Charl Schwartzel, with Westwood following his morning 64 against Hunter Mahan with a stunning 61 – which included a double bogey – to beat the former Masters champion Schwartzel by six shots.

And Rose then turned around his match with Woods in spectacular fashion, recovering from two behind after 12 with a birdie on the 13th and an eagle on the 14th, where his approach pitched just inches from the hole and span back into the cup.

Both players then birdied the par-five 16th and when Woods missed from 15ft for birdie on the last to force sudden death, Rose was certain of a seven-figure payday.

Well played: Tiger Woods congratulates Justin Rose after their semi-final

Well played: Tiger Woods congratulates Justin Rose after their semi-final

Westwood holed from 15ft for an eagle on the third, but double-bogeyed the next after hitting a flyer over the green which finished up against a tree.

However, he then holed a bunker shot for a birdie on the sixth and drove the green on the short par-four ninth to set up another eagle, while he also chipped in for another birdie on the 13th for good measure.

'It was just one of those days where I got on a roll and the hole started to look bigger and that's not happened for a while,' said Westwood, who has been working hard on his short game with former European Tour professional Tony Johnstone. 'It was pretty special stuff.

'I'm just pleased to be playing well and getting back in the swing of things after the Ryder Cup, with no hangover from that.'

Get in: Rose celebrates with a fist pump after squeezing past Woods to reach Friday's final

Get in: Rose celebrates with a fist pump after squeezing past Woods to reach Friday's final

Asked about being guaranteed $1m in the final, Westwood added: 'I hadn't really thought about that.
It's nice obviously. I have been successful in golf and done very well, and I am in the fortunate position now of going to tournaments with the sole purpose of trying to win.

'I know what a luxury I have to play this game and play it for fortunes – it's not often you see me miserable is it I try and play with a smile because I know how lucky I am.'

Rose also had reason to smile after carding a 62 in the morning to beat US Open champion Webb Simpson and following it with victory over Woods.

'It was a great day,' said Rose, who was stunned to learn Westwood had shot 61 in the trickier afternoon conditions.

Stand by your man: Rory McIlroy had girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki with him in Turkey

Stand by your man: Rory McIlroy had girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki with him in Turkey

'It was an ugly match until the end. It was hard to come out and get a rhythm going this afternoon for the both of us. It felt like the Ryder Cup to be honest, the transition between morning and afternoon felt difficult there and today.

'There's also a lot more noise and kerfuffle when playing with Tiger, but I hung in there and tried to draw upon the fast finishes I've had of late – he birdied the last two holes to beat Phil Mickelson at Medinah – and got a stroke of luck on 14.

'I just had to look up and give Tiger a wry smile, there's not much you can do about that.'

Woods added: 'That was a big switch right there. All of a sudden I was one down with four to go.

'It's a neat format because it's never over until the end, but it's frustrating that I lost two matches by one shot and just did not play well enough to win those matches.'

Wayward: But Tiger still had enough in his locker to beat McIlroy in their match on Thursday morning

Wayward: But Tiger still had enough in his locker to beat McIlroy in their match on Thursday morning

Earlier in the day, McIlroy could console himself with the thought that his 187,000 worked out at 863 per shot, with the Ulsterman taking six more in total than seventh-placed Mahan, who also lost all three games.

'I've got an afternoon by the pool, I don't mind,' McIlroy said. 'I knew I was going to have an afternoon off anyway so I was just going out and playing. I never really had any expectations.

'I've treated this week as it's great to come here, nice weather, play a bit of golf, I get to spend some time with Caroline (Wozniacki) – I viewed it as a week like that. I didn't touch a club until the first day.'

McIlroy will have next week off and hopes to join Wozniacki at her tournament in Moscow if he can get a visa, before concentrating on protecting his lead at the top of the European money list.

'I have still got some big events left and I would love to win the Race to Dubai so I am going to give it one last push,' added McIlroy, who could match the achievements of Luke Donald last year and top the money list on both sides of the Atlantic.

'It has been a great season and I am ready to be done. It is just such a long season these days but I feel I have got an obligation to play some big events leading up to Dubai.'

Lee Westwood backs Darren Clarke to be Ryder Cup captain at Gleneagles

Westwood backs pal Clarke to succeed Olazabal as Europe's Ryder Cup captain

|

UPDATED:

17:47 GMT, 9 October 2012


The long and the shorts of it: Lee Westwood, in action at the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final in Antalya on Tuesday, wants Darren Clarke to be Europe's next Ryder Cup captain

The long and the shorts of it: Lee Westwood, in action at the Turkish
Airlines World Golf Final in Antalya on Tuesday, wants Darren Clarke to
be Europe's Ryder Cup captain at Gleneagles in 2014

Lee Westwood has spoken out in favour of Darren Clarke being made Europe's Ryder Cup captain at Gleneagles in 2014 ahead of Paul McGinley.

Jose Maria Olazabal inspired Europe to the greatest ever Ryder Cup comeback victory at Medinah Country Club last month but insists he does not want to continue in the role when the sport's biggest team event comes to Scotland in two years' time.

Clarke and McGinley are the current favourites to land the role but, unsurprisingly, Westwood is backing his close friend to be the captain when Europe attempt to retain the trophy in Perthshire.

'There are a lot of good candidates but if i was asked to pick I would pick Darren,' Westwood said. 'He's been a Ryder Cup stalwart for many years.

'The one at the K Club (in 2006) will be remembered for him and his great performance under the stress of what he was going through at the time (his wife Heather had recently died); he's a major champion, he's a very good public speaker which I think has to be taken into account, tactically very astute. I think Darren has a lot of good things going for him.

'Paul is good in the team room and makes a great vice-captain. He's done a good job with the Vivendi (Seve) Trophy (twice a winning captain).

In the running: Darren Clarke

In the running: Darren Clarke (above) and Paul McGinley (below)

In the running: Paul McGinley

'Paul has played three (Ryder Cups), Darren has played five and got a major championship and won a lot more tournaments than Paul. You have to have a criteria somewhere and I think Darren just edges it for me.'

Westwoood's Ryder Cup team-mate Justin Rose revealed he and European hero Ian Poulter had been inundated with congratulations for their
triumph at Medinah while spending a few days in the Bahamas last week.

And the Englishman also offered his
thoughts on Europe's next Ryder Cup captain.

'I think we have three or four good
options,' Rose said. 'I'm hearing Paul and Darren and maybe Paul Lawrie,
but he is in the top 30 in the world and would probably want to play at
Gleneagles.

'They (McGinley and Clarke) would
both be great, I don't know if Darren might be more suited to America in
2016 as he is very popular over there.

'Paul will be very strategic and won't
put a foot wrong tactically. He has holed the winning putt before and
it means a lot to him. We have good options across the board.'