Colin Montgomerie reckons that Lee Westwood is still capable of winning a major – and has tipped him to contend in this summer’s Open Championship.
Westwood, 47, has just enjoyed back-to-back runner-up finishes on the PGA Tour at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and PLAYERS Championship respectively.
That, combined with his impressive form on the European Tour, where he won the Race to Dubai in 2020, has prompted many to suggest that the Englishman may still get the major that is so conspicuous by its absence from his CV.
Montgomerie, of course, knows all about that. The Scot made 75 appearances in the game’s four biggest events without victory. Westwood is currently on 84 but, considering his form, Montgomerie is adamant his hopes have not yet gone, suggesting that this year’s COVID-delayed Open at Royal St George’s presents a great opportunity for him.
“Lee Westwood’s strength has always been off the tee,” Montgomerie told the latest episode of The bunkered Podcast. “He’s been a very good driver of the ball for 20 years and Royal St George’s, with its hogback and fast-running fairways, is the sort of course that will play into his hands.
“Another thing that’s going to play into his hands at Royal St George’s are the greens. They won’t be at 13 on the Stimpmeter. They’ll be about nine or ten because that’s what links greens are. So it’ll take away the advantage of the putters that enjoy quick greens.
“There is no reason at all with his fitness and his belief and his confidence why he can’t do extremely well. Now, if somebody goes out and blows everybody off the park, okay, fine. But I reckon Lee Westwood will be in contention at Royal St George’s and there’s no reason why he can’t be.”
Montgomerie also believes that it would be fitting for Westwood to end his major duck at the Sandwich venue a decade on from Darren Clarke doing likewise. “You go back to his good friend Darren Clarke winning there in 2011 and it is almost a little bit written in the stars,” added Montgomerie. “So we wish him well.”