Ample motivation for Lee Westwood in Shanghai

Close House-attached world No 21, Lee Westwood, is chasing his first victory of the season – as are Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter and Luke Donald

Lee Westwood
Lee Westwood

The European Tour’s Race to Dubai has four weeks to run for higher ranking players.

Today brings the first of two successive tournaments in Shanghai, the BMW Masters.

The Close House-attached world No 21, Lee Westwood, is chasing his first victory of the season – as are Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter and Luke Donald.

The Shanghai events will be followed by the Turkish Airlines Open, a new tournament, and the DP World Tour Championship finale in Dubai.

The four tournaments form the inaugural season-ending Final Series, the European Tour version of America’s Fed ExCup.

Prize funds including a bonus pool average out at £5.25m per event, as against the £1.2m on offer in Australia last weekend.

Westwood tees off today having played only nine times on the European Tour.

But he has almost €1m in winnings and insists he can still rise from 18th place in the rankings to claim his third No 1 spot.

The 40-year-old former world No 1 has had injury problems to contend with and admits he does not know whether he will be “fresh or rusty” after five weeks off.

He said: “At the end of the FedEx Cup series I had a bit of a bad back so I went home for five weeks and did a bit of rehab on that, plenty of gym work and some stretching and that’s back to normal now and I’m able to concentrate on the end of the year.

“It’s a big four tournaments coming up.

“I’m quite surprised actually, that I still have a chance to win the money list. I am looking forward to it and finishing off strongly.

“The focus is to play well in the last four tournaments and see what happens from there. They are massive tournaments with big prize funds so a win or a couple of wins can really shoot you up there.

“I think the Final Series is a good idea. They do it on the PGA Tour with the FedEx Cup and I think it’s something the European Tour had to do as well.

“Once everything is finished over there the players that play around the world can focus on this and you are guaranteed good fields for the final few events of the tour.

“Schedules work in different ways now so you can pick times off that are not necessarily right at the end of the year.

“The tour runs a lot longer in the year and this keeps everybody’s interest high.”

Graeme Storm, attached to Rockliffe Hall, will play in Turkey. He is 73rd in the Race to Dubai rankings with winnings of £334,131 thisseason.

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