Sport Golf

Friday 23 February 2018

Westwood enlists coach

Golf James Corrigan

Lee Westwood has enlisted the services of the former British Open champion Ian Baker-Finch to help him "putt like a 10-year-old again" in his continuing quest for a Major.

Westwood has done without a putting coach in the past few years, but now feels that Baker-Finch is the "final piece in the jigsaw". The Australian won at Birkdale in 1991, before embarking on an infamous slump that practically forced him to retire after a 92 in the 1997 British Open at Troon.

Baker-Finch, however, has always retained his touch on the greens, an ability Westwood noticed when moving in near the 53-year-old in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

"He's a neighbour of mine and when we've played together I could see why he was known as a wizard on the greens," Westwood said. "I had a session with Ian last week and it was a light-bulb moment.

"It was more about feel than technique, gripping it more lightly and loosening everything up. It's a mental thing. I need to go out there feeling comfortable and he's trying to get across a way of softening everything so I hit putts like a 10-year-old. I'm going back to the clown's mouth and windmill."

Westwood (40) feels the work with Baker-Finch will see him step up a level.

"My chipping and scrambling have improved out of sight since I moved to Florida (in December) and when I start holing a few more putts I'm going to be difficult to beat," he said.

Irish Independent

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