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15th Year Celebration

with Lee Westwood

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Lee Westwood Top 15 Career Moments

As we celebrate 15 years of Your Golf Travel, we thought we’d pay tribute to our friend and Chief Holiday Officer, Lee Westwood.

Lee’s been playing golf all over the world for a lot longer than we’ve been helping golfers hit the fairways on their golf holidays (28 years on tour and counting!) and has won on 5 continents and in 4 different decades!

In our 15th year and continuing with the theme-of-fifteen, let’s take a look at Lee’s Top 15 Career Moments…

Lee Westwood/YGT_-_LW_2_bw7gm2

First Professional Win - 1996 Scandinavian Masters

❝I guess for any tour pro your first win will always be a standout moment in your career. I had to wait about 3 years to get my first win after turning pro after winning the British Youths Open Championship in 93.

If memory serves the tournament was at Forsgården Golf Club which was a great course (golf in Sweden is generally excellent) and thankfully I kicked on a got a good few wins under my belt over the next couple of seasons. Knowing you're good enough to win regularly on tour is a great confidence booster at the start of your career.❞

Tournament Result

Year

1996

Winner

Lee Westwood

Score

-7

Winnings

€163,324

First time at The Masters - Augusta National 1997

❝I think getting my first Masters Invitation in the post was maybe one of the most exciting single moments in my career, and it was also a by-product of how well I’d done and the tournaments I’d won leading up to the event so it was very gratifying too. Getting that envelope in the post is still one of the best moments of the year for me, and The Masters has become my favourite tournament, with Augusta definitely being my favourite golf course too.

It’s just such a special event and the one I look forward to the most at the start of each season. I played well in 1997 and finished T24 which is pretty good for your first outing at Augusta but of course, that was Tiger’s first Masters as a pro and we all know what happened there…the atmosphere was pretty electric, but then again, it always is at Augusta!❞

Ryder Cup 1997 - Lee’s Debut

❝A bit like getting your first Masters Invitation, making any Ryder Cup team is a sign that you’re doing the right things and playing well, and consistently enough to qualify for the biggest events. 1997 was a special year for The Ryder Cup as it was the first time it had been hosted in Continental Europe, and to play under Seve who was Captain was an honour.

It was stressful at times too because he was like a man possessed; here, there and everywhere in that buggy, but an honor nonetheless. Playing with Faldo was an unexpected surprise at the time too, but we did well and to win in Spain with Seve as Captain was a great way to start my Ryder Cup career.❞

VINTAGE Lee Westwood hits long iron close!

First PGA Tour Win - 1998 Freeport-McDermott Classic

❝The European Tour has always been my home tour, but winning around the world in different countries and on different tours is what we all strive for. Over the course of my career, I’ve won in four different decades and on five continents so, which I am hugely proud of. My first win on the PGA Tour came fairly early in my career and while I’d like to have won more in the USA, it’s not the be-all-and-end-all. Having said that, having a PGA Tour win on my résumé is something I am very proud of.❞

Tournament Result

Year

1998

Winner

Lee Westwood

Score

-15

Winnings

$306,000

Winning First Race to Dubai

❝I suppose looking back, you could say I was still an up-and-coming player in 2000, so to win my first Race to Dubai crown was really special and made me feel more established on tour. I won five times that season in Europe and seven in total on tour so I was really playing the best golf of my career up until that point.

Winning the Race to Dubai and officially being the best player on The European Tour for the season is always special because it just reinforces that you’re doing the right things week in, week out, and playing really consistently which is what we are all looking to do out on tour. Anyone on tour can win really when they play their best stuff, but if you’re still competitive when you’re not at your best, which you have to be to win a season-long title like the Race to Dubai, that’s when you know you’re on the right track.❞

Lee Westwood's Tour wins in 2000

Date Tournament Country Winnings

18–21 May

Deutsche Bank - SAP Open TPC of Europe

Germany

€450,000

22–25 Jun

Compaq European Grand Prix

England

€170,276

6–9 Jul

Smurfit European Open

Republic of Ireland

€396,280

3–6 Aug

Volvo Scandinavian Masters

Sweden

€266,660

21–24 Sep

Belgacom Open

Belgium

€166,660

5–8 Oct

Cisco World Match Play Championship

England

£250,000

Ryder Cup 2002 - Winning at The Belfry

❝The Belfry was always a pretty special venue for up-and-coming golfers in Europe, with European Tour events, and of course the Ryder Cup history. I’d actually been to The Belfry as a fan to watch The Ryder Cup in 89 and 93 and I remember standing behind the 10th tee watching Seve driving the green which has become such an iconic moment. As I’m sure you can imagine, going on to play for Team Europe at The Belfry a decade or so later was a bit surreal, but a very special occasion for me.

Y’know, moments like driving the green at 10 myself, and then Sergio who I partnered that week jumping on my shoulders in celebration…moments like that are what I’ll look back on when I’m done with professional golf. Winning any Ryder Cup is special, but to do it for Sam (Torrance) at The Belfry made that a very special week.❞

Create your own Ryder Cup memories at The Belfry >>

First Ryder Cup Singles Win - Oakland Hills 2004

❝I’ve always done really well in the opening couple of days at Ryder Cups I’ve played in - I think I have a particularly good record in the foursomes which Europe have always excelled in general - but unfortunately have struggled a bit in the singles. I hadn’t actually win in the singles until we played at Oakland Hills in 2004, so it was nice to get that monkey off my back in beating Kenny Perry.

My point actually got us to 14 in total which of course retained the cup for Europe. Ultimately we’d go on to win by a record margin (18.5 / 9.5) which was pretty unheard of on away soil. Of course, this was around the time that Europe started to dominate a little as well, so being part of that team was great❞

Lee Westwood's 2004 Ryder Cup Matches

Match 🇪🇺 Europe 🇺🇸 USA Result

Friday Fouballs

Sergio Garcia / Lee Westwood

David Toms / Jim Furyk

🇪🇺 Europe 4 & 3

Friday Foursomes

Darren Clarke / Lee Westwood

Phil Mickelson / Tiger Woods

🇪🇺 Europe 1 Up

Saturday Fouballs

Sergio Garcia / Lee Westwood

Jay Haas / Christian DiMarco

Halved

Saturday Foursomes

Darren Clarke / Lee Westwood

Jay Haas / Christian DiMarco

🇪🇺 Europe 5 & 4

Sunday Singles

Lee Westwood

Kenny Perry

🇪🇺 1 Up

Ryder Cup 2006 - The K Club with Darren Clarke

❝I think everyone knows what Darren had gone through leading up to The 2006 Ryder Cup so we knew that it was going to be an emotional event, especially seeing as it was in Ireland. Darren and I were wildcards that year and were paired together on the first day against Chris DiMarco and Phil Mickelson. I remember waiting for Darren as we were getting ready to go to the first tee thinking he might need some emotional support, and I was holding it together until we actually got to the tee.

I saw Phil welling up, Chris had tears in his eyes, the caddies did too. Once I saw that, Darren’s emotions and the crowd’s support as well, I basically started bawling too and was thinking “how is Darren going to cope with this? Will he be too emotional?” He hit his drive 310 yards up the middle, stuck it to 15 feet and holed it for a birdie and I was blown away but thought, “yeh…I think we’ll be alright today.”

We went on to win, as did Europe of course by a huge margin by the end of Sunday. You couldn’t have asked for a better venue, better support than the Irish crowd that week, and of course a better result. I’ll never forget that opening tee shot though.❞

Darren Clarke relives walking onto the 1st tee at the 2006 Ryder Cup

Race to Dubai Win 2009

❝My second Race to Dubai title felt very different from my first. Coming almost a decade later, I’d been through a real slump in form which came after my initial Race to Dubai title, but I’d come back again too and at the time I was honing in on the best player in the world spot. After all the highs and lows I had been through, I really felt like one of the best players in the world again, so the Race to Dubai was very much a goal of mine.

I won in Portugal the month before the Dubai World Championship and then to kick on and play so well when the pressure was on; that was very gratifying. The 64 in the final round in Dubai felt like I couldn’t play any better than that so to win by 6 shots and seal the Race to Dubai, which then turned into Golfer of The Year and Player’s Player of The Year was amazing.❞

Every shot of Lee Westwood's 2009 Dubai Win | Classic Round Highlights

Reaching World Number One - 31 October, 2010

❝As I said, after experiencing so many incredible highs as well as massive lows in the first half of my career, getting myself back to the position in the world rankings where I felt I belonged, and winning the tournaments I was winning, was great validation to the work that had gone into doing so.

Then after a great couple of seasons, I managed to kick on from the Race to Dubai in 2009 and continue playing really solid golf. Getting to World Number One doesn’t just happen overnight…you don’t just shoot up the rankings. It’s a result of playing well consistently in the biggest events. I’d finished in the top three in four out of the five Majors before overtaking Tiger, and had won three times too.

Taking the top spot in the world rankings is just a by-product of that level of play over time, so to get there felt very vindicating. Obviously to take the top spot from Tiger was great too. There aren’t too many people who can say they’ve done that.❞

Reaches World No.1 in Oct 2010

Player

Lee Westwood

Start Date

31 Oct, 2010

End Date

26 Feb, 2011

No. of Weeks

17

Ryder Cup 2012 - The Miracle at Medinah

❝When I look back at my Ryder Cup career prior to 2021, it’s hard to believe I’d have played in one that was maybe even more emotional than 2006 with Darren at The K Club. As everyone will know, Seve was such a huge part of the rise of European golf, particularly in The Ryder Cup. He was the one who really took the fight to the Americans so when he passed away in 2011 and with Ole (Jose Maria Olazabal) as Captain, the 2012 Ryder Cup effort from Team Europe was very much in memory of the great man.

Playing any Ryder Cup away from home is really difficult and the first couple of days in Chicago…well, everything was going Team USA’s way. The feeling you get when that is happening is frustrating at the best of times, but with us all doing everything we could to honour Seve, the feeling was really low. What Poults did on the back nine on Saturday was just incredible and very much in the spirit of Seve. It gave us a chance and really shifted the momentum. The Sunday Singles, with everything that happened, Rory being whizzed to the tee in a police car, the way the matches all went, momentum swaying this way and that, and to eventually win was…well I still can’t quite believe it actually happened!❞

The putt that changed EVERYTHING! | Ian Poulter's 'Miracle at Medinah' | Ryder Cup Moments

Ryder Cup 2014 - Gleneagles

❝As you can probably tell, The Ryder Cup has been a huge part of my career and has always been one of the most special events for me personally, so to have played in so many, and to have been part of this era where Europe have done so well, has definitely given me some of my best memories from my career.

There was nothing too standout-ish about 2014 at Gleneagles, nothing like the emotion of The K Club or Medinah anyway. But winning The Ryder Cup is always special, isn’t it? Gleneagles obviously is one of the best golf venues in the world and playing The Ryder Cup in Scotland where golf is so historically important is always special. Our team was incredibly strong at this time, but there is some pressure that comes with being favourites, so to win in the fashion we did was brilliant.

The after-party at Gleneagles was pretty epic too as I’m sure you can imagine. I’ll never forget Jamie Donaldson’s finger to the sky celebration when he sealed the deal in his singles match…or the yellow hoodie he wore when he had his “morning after” interview on the TV.❞

Create your own Ryder Cup memories at Gleneagles >>

2018 Nedbank Challenge Win - Helen On The Bag

❝Firstly, I love playing golf in South Africa and have had quite a lot of success there too. I’d won at the Nedbank a couple of times before heading to the event in 2018. I hadn’t won in four years before that week, and when you get to the latter stage of your career, you’re never really sure whether you’re going to be able to win again, no matter how confident you are or how well you’re playing.

Gary Player Country Club is an iconic course, the event was a Rolex Series event on The European Tour at the time and I played so well in the final round, shooting 64 to win as I said for the first time in a good while. I’m lucky that I really enjoy playing on tour still after all these years, and to have Helen (Lee’s wife) on the bag as caddy made winning that event all the more special.❞

Lee Westwood Winning Highlights | 2018 Nedbank Golf Challenge

25th European Tour Win - 2020 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championships

❝Although I take a bit more of a relaxed approach to my golf these days and just try to enjoy it all as much as possible, I obviously still want to win, still work on my game, still set goals for myself. One of my targets for 2020 was to get back into the Top 50 of the World Golf Rankings so to win in Abu Dhabi so early in the season and take care of that pretty comfortably, in the end, was a great way to start the year.

The Desert Swing is always great. Abu Dhabi and Dubai are among my favourite places to play golf and enjoy holidays too actually and winning in Abu Dhabi really kick-started a great season and got me thinking about making the team for The Ryder Cup too. I had to reset my goals for the season after that week but I guess that’s never a bad thing after a win. I did keep getting reminded that it was my 25th European Tour win and that I’d won events in four different decades though. Why did everyone have to keep reminding me of how old I am!?❞

LEE WESTWOOD WINS IN ABU DHABI! 44 Professional Wins + Tour Wins in 4 Different Decades! [2020]

Winning European Tour Golfer of The Year 2020

❝Obviously winning in Abu Dhabi at the start of the 2020 season really set me up nicely for the year, and thankfully I was able to push on from that and continue to play some really good golf. I was pretty close to the top of The Race to Dubai title all year long, but as far as I understand it, I only actually got to the top spot as the final group left the 71st hole of The DP World Tour Championship! That’s a bit mad really but it just goes to show how important the last event of my season was and how important it was for me to play so well when I really needed to.

I’ve always talked about consistency which is what you need to win Order of Merits and The Race to Dubai. Who’d have thought that I’d be sitting there at the age of 47 having won another, as well as the awards that go with it? I never forget that I am extremely fortunate to do a job that I love, which has sent me around the world playing in the most amazing places and meeting some wonderful people, so to win awards like European Tour Golfer of The Year and Players’ Player of The year is very humbling and the sort of things I’ll look back on when I retire… eventually!❞

Lee Westwood on his 2020 European Tour Season