It usually seems like Westwood’s in the mix at Augusta National. He had a pair of 11ths in 2008 and 2011 to go along with his second in 2010. Westwood has the distance to handle the 7,435-yard layout and the short game to give himself a chance on the greens.
“I always felt like I could do it here,” Westwood said. “I always felt like the golf course suits my game. But when you come close like that, it gives you an extra boost of confidence out there.”
Westwood said he returns to the course with an open mind, prepared to deal with the subtle year-to-year changes at Augusta National. He said the 8th and 16th greens have been changed to accommodate new pins.
“Even standing there and just staring at it, you can’t see the obvious change,” Westwood said. “So it’s not a case of relearning the greens because every putt you have out there is a new challenge.”
Westwood’s not the only one seeking a major breakthrough at Augusta.
World No. 1 Luke Donald has had three top-10 finishes in seven Masters appearances and comes in off a victory at the Transitions Championship last month.
U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy is seeking redemption from his final round meltdown here that cost him the Masters title a year ago. He also enters with a recent victory in the Honda Classic.
And, of course, there’s four-time Masters winner Tiger Woods, who is looking to end a four-year dry spell at the majors after collecting his first PGA Tour victory in three seasons at the Arnold Palmer Invitational two weeks back.
“I’m excited to play in the Masters and I’m excited just to come here. I’m not so excited that everybody is playing well, obviously,” Westwood said with a smile. “I wish that everybody was playing poorly.”