Lee Westwood biography
SynopsisLee Westwood was born April 24, 1973 in Worksop, England. In 1993 he turned pro. In 1997, he caught the attention of golf fans on both sides of the Atlantic with three quick victories. In 1998 he won the Freeport-McDermott Classic in New Orleans. He made his PGA debut in 1995 and has also had several close finishes on some of golf's biggest stages.
An Early CompetitorAthlete, professional golfer. Born Lee Westwood on April 24, 1973, in Worksop, England. Westwood was the only child born to John Westwood, a math teacher, and his wife Trish, a podiatrist. From an early age their son showed a passion for sports and, like his father, a penchant for competitive play. "He and I used to have swimming races on holiday," John Westwood once recalled. "If it was diving, I might give him a mark occasionally and then he would try and beat that mark. We did press-ups against one another. When he was little we would roll cars to see who could get it closer to the edge of the table. We would arm-wrestle. The competition was not vicious. When he won, he got rewarded."
In high school Lee played soccer, rugby, cricket, and competed in cross-country events. But golf seemed to hold his interest more than anything. He'd fallen in love with the sport at the age of 12 when he stayed up late to watch Jack Nicklaus win the 1986 Masters. A year later, his grandparents gave him a partial set of clubs. He birdied a hole his first time out, and by the time he was 15, Westwood had taken home the local junior championship.
Professional GolfHis amateur career took off after that, and in 1993 after winning the British Youth Championship, Westwood turned pro. His first few years on the tour proved to be fairly quiet, but then in late 1997, he caught the attention of golf fans on both sides of the Atlantic with three quick victories. The wins catapulted Westwood near the top of the European tour's money list.
In April 1998, Westwood won the Freeport-McDermott Classic in New Orleans, which was followed by two more victories in Europe a month later. Since then, Westwood has been a regular member of Europe's Ryder Cup team, not to mention one of its top scorers; in 2004 and 2006 he was unbeaten in all five of his matches.
Westwood, who made his PGA debut in 1995, has also had several close finishes on some of golf's biggest stages. In 2000 he came in fifth at the U.S. Open. Eight years later, he finished third at the tournament. His Official World Golf Ranking has reached as high as No. 4.
Heartbreaking LossesBut like Phil Mickelson early in his career, Westwood has been dogged by the perception that he can't close out big tournaments. In recent years, his career has been defined by some heartbreaking losses. At the 2008 U.S. Open he missed a 20-foot birdie that would have sent him into a playoff. At the 2010 Masters he saw his lead in the final round evaporate. A month later, at the Players' Championship, Westwood again fell short, this time to Tim Clark, a little known South African who'd gone winless in his last 200 American tournaments. "Westwood is not a finisher," opined one golf writer after the Players' Championship. "Period."
A cheery person by nature, Westwood, however, continued to express confidence about his game. "While I'm disappointed, I'm pleased with myself," he told reporters. "I think that I've proved to myself and a few others that there is a major championship in me."
Westwood is married to Laurae Coltart, the sister of Scottish golfer and Westwood friend, Andrew Coltart. Laurae and Westwood live on a large farm in Worksop, which features a 330-yard practice ground. The couple has two young children, Sam and Poppy.