San Fransisco – On a day when nearly everyone had a hard luck story to tell at the U.S. Open, Lee Westwood was left to wonder what he must have done to upset the golfing gods this time.
The Englishman is widely regarded as one of the best players of his generation never to win a major after a series of frustrating close shaves, but even he was left to curse his misfortune after a bizarre incident in Sunday's final round.
Trailing by three shots but still right in contention after getting through the tough first four holes in level par, Westwood's hopes of making a charge ended when his drive on the fifth got stuck at the top of a giant pine tree.
Westwood pulled out a pair of binoculars to try to find his ball but time ran out and he was ordered to go back to the tee and hit another drive.
“You could've understood it if my tee shot was way off line, but it was on the perfect line,” he said. “You've got to cut that corner and try to hold it up against that slope, because the fairway is so severe.
“So I thought I'd hit the perfect line, but it ended getting stuck up in the pine needles, and we couldn't find it.”
Westwood took a bogey six for the hole and never really recovered. He played the remaining 13 holes in one-over, highlighted by an eagle-three at the 17th, and finished tied for 10th, four shots behind winner Webb Simpson.
“It was hard to get any momentum going after that, because it took the wind out of my sails,” he said.
“I wasn't really making any putts, and wasn't getting any breaks. I eagled the 17th after a great approach, but it was probably too little too late by then.”
Westwood has now finished in the top-10 at the U.S. Open five times and recorded 14 top-10 finishes in major championships without winning one.
The 39-year-old still harbors hope his luck will eventually change.
“It was just one of those frustrating days really,” he said. “But we live to fight another day.” – Reuters