By Andrew Both
AUGUSTA, Ga. (Reuters) – Should he win the match on Sunday, ee Westwood would supplant (*47*) Nicklaus because the oldest Masters champion, and their place in golf history would even be linked in one other approach.
Englishman Westwood, who turns 48 this month, is utilizing his son Sam as caddie at Augusta National this week, relegating his common bag provider, fiancee Helen Storey, to the function of spectator.
Nicklaus had son Jackie on the bag for his well-known 1986 victory at the age of 46. Westwood was solely 12 at the time, however the reminiscence of the Golden Bear charging to the Green Jacket stays vivid.
“I still remember the first time I played this tournament in 1997,” Westwood stated on Tuesday. “I played the final round with Jack.
“I went out on the Saturday night time and acquired the image, the long-lasting one the place he is following the ball into the opening on 17 along with his putter. And after we performed on the Sunday … I stated to (*47*), ‘would you thoughts signing this image for me’?”
“I nonetheless have it to today all framed up the place he is put, ‘Lee, loved our spherical, finest needs, (*47*) Nicklaus’.”
But whereas Nicklaus is the most prolific major winner with 18 titles, Westwood is still seeking his first.
Arguably the best player of his generation without a major victory, he has nine times finished second or third, and is running out of time to close the deal.
“I all the time take pleasure in talking with (*47*) and choosing his brains and simply being in his firm,” Westwood said.
“It’s wonderful that I’m sufficiently old to have my son on the bag and nonetheless be competing in these tournaments, and having Sam right here to benefit from the expertise with me.”
Westwood has been in excellent form recently, posting runner-up finishes in Florida at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Players Championship.
“It simply is validation, actually, that I’m nonetheless ok at my age to be out right here and contending,” he said.
“As for expectations, I do not actually have any. I simply put the preparation in, hit it off the primary tee and hopefully hit it on the inexperienced and have a birdie probability, and make just a few of these. After that, it is within the lap of the gods, actually”
(Reporting by Andrew Both, modifying by Ed Osmond)