The European Tour is in full swing and is heading back to Dubai for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Lee Westwood is making his 2013 golf debut at the Emirates Golf Club, where he has finished as the runner-up on three separate occasions (1999, 2010 and 2012) in 19 tries. Of the 19 times he has started the tournament, he has finished in the top-10 seven times. Clearly, his track record is solid, despite the fact that he has yet to make it to the winner’s circle.
Coming into this event, however, Westwood feels like he may be primed for a victory. “I played a lot more this winter than I would normally play,” said Westwood, who moved to Florida at the end of last year. “There’s no rust. The main reason for moving to Florida was to get more games of golf because I wouldn’t play normally when I’m at home because of the weather.”
The eighth-ranked golfer in the world knows that he has been on the precipice of victory in Dubai, and just one or two shots could have changed the outcome dramatically. In 2010, he lost in a playoff to Miguel Angel Jimenez and last year, he missed a birdie putt that would have forced a playoff with Rafa Cabrera-Bello.
It’s not as if Westwood has played poorly in Dubai; his record is indicative of that. The more likely factor behind his failure to hoist the trophy is rust. As he said, the weather in England at the end of the year is not exactly conducive to playing a lot of golf. Florida, on the other, is a golfer’s dream in the winter months.
Westwood should put up another good showing this week in the desert. We will have to wait a few days to see if he has sufficiently shaken off any rust that could prevent him from adding a win to his résumé. I would call it a safe bet to say that he finishes in the top-10, however.