A third title for Westwood fits nicely

Leading money-winner on the European Tour for the third time

A third title for Westwood fits nicely
Lee Westwood (Adam Davy/PA Wire)


Matthew Fitzpatrick, aged 26, won the DP World Tour Championship for the second time on Sunday while Lee Westwood, 47, became the leading money-winner on the European Tour for the third time in his career. The first had been in 2000, when it was known as the Order of Merit. The second had been in 2009, when he won this tournament and with it the inaugural Race to Dubai. That’s an impressive example of longevity.


“I went out trying to win the tournament,” said Westwood, whose closing four-under-par 68 was matched by Fitzpatrick, who beat him by a shot. “That was the best and the simplest thing to try and do. There’s so many sort of permutations on a day like today. It can all get too confusing if you let it. You might as well just go out there and shoot as low a score as you can on each individual hole. I figured I needed to finish 15 under to win the tournament. {He was right; that was Fitzpatrick’s total.] Not really any thoughts of the Race to Dubai until I got into the scoring tent afterwards and looked at it all and realised I’d still got a chance.”

A third title for Westwood fits nicely
Matthew Fitzpatrick (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)


Fitzpatrick was understandably upbeat, too. “The start I got off to, four birdies in the first four, five under through seven, it’s a dream start. Fortunately I managed to pull away from that and really sort of create some distance. It was just obviously a bit of a grind on the back nine. For me it was just about finishing one hole at a time and just getting through it. I managed to do that and finished well.”

A tournament which ended up being about two Yorkshiremen began, at least on one level, as being about two Americans: Patrick Reed and Collin Morikawa. They turned up at the Earth Course with Reed leading the Race to Dubai and Morikawa third, thereby making a sandwich of Tommy Fleetwood, who finished the week with a score of 281, the same as Morikawa and eight adrift of Fitzpatrick.


Reed and Morikawa were each attempting to become the first American to be the leading money-winner in Europe. In Morikawa’s case, this seemed rather incongruous. He had only been to Europe twice in his life, and of course Dubai itself isn’t in Europe. In fact, Morikawa had never previously played a European Tour event (his only outing outside the PGA Tour was for the 2019 Dunlop Phoenix in Japan), primarily owing his lofty status to having won the USPGA Championship in August. All the majors count towards the Race to Dubai but had Morikawa collected the whole caboodle that would, in my view, have been something of a farce – sort of the opposite of the lottery mantra about having to be in it to win it; he would have won it despite basically not being in it. I think Keith Pelley and the guys at the European Tour need to look at this.

Reed, on the other hand, is a comparative regular. This was his third Euro Tour start of the year, after Saudi Arabia and the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. He led after two rounds and was in the thick of things as the fourth round drew to a close. If he had finished on 14 under, tied with Westwood, he would have been top dog. He was 13 under with three holes to play, whereupon he bogeyed both the 16th and 17th. His third chip-in of the day for eagle at the last was neat showing off but not good enough for the big prize.



“The motivation’s never changed,” said Westwood. “I get to get up each day and do the job I love. I’ve always wanted to be a golfer and I don’t want it to end. I’m prepared to keep working hard and put myself in the line of fire and try to get into contention in tournaments. It’s where I’m most comfortable and what I love doing.”

Westwood made his Ryder Cup debut in 1997, playing with Nick Faldo four times in the course of contributing to Europe’s victory at Valderrama. He may be in the team again next September. If he is at Whistling Straits, he will match Faldo’s record of 11 European appearances. I’m sure he would love doing that, too.



You can follow Robert Green on Twitter @robrtgreen and enjoy his other blog f-factors.com plus you can read more by him on golf at robertgreengolf.com

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