Lee Westwood is determined to utilise his form and experience to claim his maiden major title this week and put an end to a longstanding Masters record held by Jack Nicklaus.
The Golden Bear remains the oldest person to slip on a Green Jacket, winning the 1986 Masters tournament at the age of 46, doing so with his son on his bag.
This week, Westwood, 47, is also playing with his son, Sam, as his caddie and would surpass Nicklaus’ record and become the oldest person to win the Masters should he triumph.
“Jack [Nicklaus] has always been an inspiration the way he played the game, especially his record around here,” said 25-time European Tour winner Westwood. “There's a few similarities there with age and it would be great to break his record.”
A record that Westwood already holds when it comes to the major championships is an unwanted one. He has the most top-three finishes in a major (nine) without winning one, with three of those coming at Augusta National.
Despite this, the Englishman comes into the tournament in fine form, posting back-to-back second place finishes at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the PLAYERS Championship in March.
“That is just validation that I'm still good enough at my age to be out here and contending,” added Westwood. Having a chance to win and getting myself into contention is good. Shooting two pretty good final rounds, those kind of things give you confidence.”
“As for expectations, I don't really have any, but I don't really have any at any tournaments I turn up to anymore. I just put the preparation in, hit it off the first tee and try and find it and hit it on the green. After that, it's in the lap of the gods, really.”
Despite an impressive start to the year, Westwood, playing his 20th Masters this week, admits that he must be wary in the management of the physical side of the game.
“I'm 48 in a few days' time, and the secret is to tone the practice and the training down as Thursday comes so I'm fresh,” added Westwood. “My legs probably won't take as much as a 20-year-old's legs will take, and this is a physically demanding golf course. I have to scale that back.”