Lee Westwood would find it ironic if he knew the reason Garrick Porteous is having the time of his life this summer.
The daily Porteous practice sessions at the Northumberland club’s practice ground are heavily focused on distance control – he marks out the yardages with cones.
Although the North East’s British Amateur champion missed the cut in the Open he has otherwise been a serial winner this season.
Yesterday, it was an inability to put the ball on the spot which stood between Westwood, attached to Close House, and winning his first major at the 62nd attempt.
He said: ”I’m a philosophical person. It just doesn’t wind me up or get to me anymore.”
Westwood remains the only golfer in history to finish in the top three of all four majors and never win one.
Yet when a birdie at Muirfield’s fifth hole restored Westwood’s final round to par, he had a three-shot lead over the field.
With the East Lothian galleries treating cheerful chappie Westwood generously, like their own adopted player, surely this was the time for him to get the monkey off his back.
Sadly, by the time he walked off the 14th after leaving a 12-foot birdie putt two feet short, it was to see Phil Mickelson was three shots clear and on such a brutal course there was no coming back from that. In between, Westwood made wrong decisions on clubbing and, coupled with inaccuracy in terms of direction, this caused him to visit both the rough and the bunkers three times – needing two attempts to get out of the pot bunker at seven.
With his very best putting touch deserting him at key moments, Westwood had to settle for a share of third place.
He added: “It’s a tough golf course and you have to have your A game.
“I missed a few shots out there. I hit the wrong club at seven. I was sort of stuck between clubs and came up with a nine-iron.
“I tried to hit a 9-iron and it was never going to get there, it plugged in the front trap.
“It was the wrong club, really I should have known. The wind felt like it just dropped a little bit and 200 yards is a long way for a niner.
“I plugged it in the trap at eight going for a flier and I hit poor tee shot off nine.
“So I had three plugged lies on three holes.
“You’d like to go par, par, bogey, I went bogey, bogey par. It Just halted my momentum a bit.
“Phil Mickelson played well, shooting the round of the day and birdieing four out of six – that’s a pretty special finish in a major championship.
“Sometimes you play well and somebody plays a bit better and sometimes you play poorly.
“I didn’t do either today and Phil played well, but you have to play well to give yourself your own momentum and I just couldn’t get there today. I didn’t really feel like I had my A game.
”There was not any luck involved. I just didn’t hit good shots when it mattered.
“You make your own luck.”