Wednesday 13 December 2017

Lee Westwood to move family to US for better golfing weather

BRITAIN’S weather is the main reason Lee Westwood plans to move with his family to America at the end of this year.

A 10th-place finish at the US Open in San Francisco, where his hopes were scuppered by losing a ball up a tree on the fifth hole of his final round, was the world number three's 57th attempt to win a major.

Only two years ago Westwood, now 39, was saying he did not want to join the PGA Tour for family reasons, but after changing his mind on that he has now decided to take a far bigger step.

"There are a number of reasons, but the main one is I haven't got that much time left at the top and I want to give myself the best chance of staying there as long as I can," he told reporters.

"I am moving to America at the end of this year because with our weather it is hard to practise when you want to practise in the UK."

Westwood has an 11-year-old son Sam and eight-year-old daughter Poppy.

The Ryder Cup star, who still intends to retain his European Tour membership, has won 40 times as a professional, but only twice in the States - New Orleans in 1998 and then Memphis two years ago.

Both came the week before a major, but he is still chasing that dream.

The US Open was his 14th top-10 finish and seven of them have been top threes. The only other player in golf history to have as many as that without winning was Harry Cooper between 1925 and 1938.

Westwood was in joint third spot, three strokes behind Jim Furyk, when he lost the ball in the tree.

American Lee Janzen thought the same had happened to him on the same hole in 1998, but as he walked back to the tee the ball came out of the branches and he went on to win.

Westwood used some binoculars to try to locate his, but to no avail. He double-bogeyed and by the time he almost made an albatross on the long 17th he was too far back.

Most of Europe's stars are now members of the American circuit as well.

World number one Luke Donald has based himself in Chicago since his college days, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter moved their families to Florida, Paul Casey lives in Arizona, Rory McIlroy rejoined the Tour this year following his US Open victory and Graeme McDowell also divides his time.

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