Westwood hopes to regain number one spot


Lee Westwood, the world’s number two golfer, said Monday that wins in Asia have boosted his confidence and raised his hopes of regaining the top spot. The 38-year-old Englishman earlier this year won the Indonesia Masters and the Ballantine’s Championship in South Korea, adding to a long career which includes playing in seven Ryder Cups and winning 22 European Tour titles. “I’ve always enjoyed playing in Asia, played well here. It makes a lot of sense to keep coming back,” he told AFP in an interview in Shanghai, where he is playing in the Shui On Land China Golf Challenge. “If you come somewhere and you play well, then obviously it builds confidence,” he added. Westwood spent several weeks as world number one last year, but said his recent play, though consistent, had failed to push him a notch higher. “Obviously, I would like to get back to number one in the world,” he said. “I just haven’t really quite played well enough.” Westwood will return to China in November for the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in Shanghai. He praised the quality of golf courses in Asia and said big tournaments would help raise the profile of the sport in the region. “You get people involved and you get world class players going out around the world and showing how good they are. That’s the way that anything spreads,” he said. The re-introduction of golf to the Olympics in the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro could spur China in particular to invest more in training and facilities for upcoming players, Westwood added. “China… have a very keen Olympic programme and always build for the future,” he said. “That’s going to be massive for the game and promote growth.” The Shui On Land China Golf Challenge is an exhibition event which also features world number three Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter and Liang Wenchong, who are playing 18 holes in seven Chinese cities in seven days.