What to make of Westwood’s recent resurgence
Brendan Quinn, golf writer: It’s not a fluke. Westwood is ranked 31st in the world, finished second at Abu Dhabi in December, T13 at the U.S. Open in September and ended last season as the oldest champion in Race to Dubai history, staking his claim as the No. 1 player in Europe.
Of late Westwood has credited his play to working with a sports psychologist in recent years and rewiring his mindset. “I care less about the outcomes. I still care about my performance, and that in turn leads me to work as hard as I’ve always worked,” he said on Friday.
How strange is it to have the same final pairing in consecutive weeks?
Quinn: In the ShotLink era (2003-present), the only other times a final group of a tournament played together in consecutive stroke-play events was Vijay Singh and Adam Scott in the 2006 Tour Championship and the 2007 Sentry Tournament of Champions. So, yes, the back-to-back closing twosome is certainly odd.
The fact that it’s these two, though? Now that is just bizarre. You’ve got a ball-smashing 27-year-old in DeChambeau who is changing the game in real time and a 47-year-old veteran Englishman in Westwood who brings a quarter-century of experience. Talk about an odd couple.
Who is a bigger threat on Sunday, DeChambeau or Thomas?
Quinn: DeChambeau. He already got the job done last week, overcoming Westwood’s 54-hole lead to win at Bay Hill. Thomas is No. 3 in the world and won as recently as August in the WGC-St. Jude Invitational, but travailed through a highly complicated last few months. He was in contention in Phoenix before shooting a final-round 72 on the same day he learned his grandfather died.
Thomas is certainly a threat on Sunday at Sawgrass, but DeChambeau is playing like a killer closer. For what it’s worth, it would also be unwise to sleep on Jon Rahm, who is sitting at 9 under.
(Photo: Jasen Vinlove / USA Today)