Westwood locks targets on top ranking
As the defending champion and the strongest contender in the Indonesian Masters, world No. 3 Lee Westwood of Britain is looking forward to a fruitful week as part of his effort to be the world’s top golfer.
“I’m not far off at the moment ... and obviously there are good players — Luke [Donald, world No. 2] and Rory [McIlroy, world No. 1]. I feel like I’m as good a player as them and playing as good as them. It’s not bad. My goal is trying to play good in every tournament, make challenges,” Westwood said during a press conference at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club in East Jakarta on Wednesday.
At US Masters Tournament earlier in this month, Westwood tied third, finishing two strokes behind Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen.
Despite his ambition, Westwood said that defending his Indonesian Masters title would not be easy.
“I think all the players playing this week wouldn’t be in the tournament if they aren’t capable of winning. Playing in the world now, it’s difficult to win because the strength and depth in golf [after] becoming a popular sport. Everybody treats it with a lot more professionalism now,” said the 38-year-old, who wrapped up last year’s Indonesian Masters at 19-under.
“You have to be on your game all the time, really. And you have to be on your game to win tournaments.”
Commenting on the Jakarta course, Westwood said that it has several difficult holes. “Get a lot of fairways and you will get the chance to make some attacks.”
Recognizing that 19-under was a very low score to beat, Welshman Ian Woosnam said that he would do his best to make the cut.
“Nineteen-under was terrific, I’m expecting to be there this week, it’s nice to be challenging, but my goal is to get the cut this week, and I’m going to enjoy it. Miracles happen,” said the winner of 1991 Masters Tournament.
Woosnam also said that staying on the fairway would be the best strategy to survive the tour because, “if you miss the fairway, it’s going to be hard to get out.”
New Zealander Michael Campbell said that preserving his confidence and being able to play well in the first day on Thursday were the keys to stay strong in the competition. “You have equal chances of winning in the first tee shot,” he said.
Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand said he would benefit by the familiar hot weather and high humidity.
“I play a lot of tournaments in Asia — in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia — that have similar weather. It can dry up your energy. But for me, I get used to it,” said the 42-year-old, who collected 13 victories in Asian Tour events between 2000 and 2010.
Despite the strong contenders, tough weather and the stressful traffic that Jakarta has offered, Jaidee said that he faced a more personal challenge after having an injury. “It’s always hard to play again after recovering from a shoulder injury.”
Andik Mauluddin, a seven-time winner on the local circuit, will spearhead the Indonesian charge this week. He said that he believed the experience of playing against Westwood and the best players in Asia would prepare him for the Asian Tour Qualifying School next year.
“I’m feeling good. I want to use this tournament as a platform to test my game for the Asian Tour Qualifying School. I tried before in 2009 and 2010 but missed the cut,” said the 2005 and 2008 bronze medalist in the South East Asian Games.