In a recent interview, Lee Westwood opened up about the depths of his difficulties following his contracting Covid-19 at the end of last year.
Over the Christmas break, the 48-year-old admitted that he had been confined to his couch due to the virus’ draining effects, and that he was falling behind in his recovery and struggling to get enough air into his lungs.
“It was the first time I’d walked 18 holes since playing in Houston at the beginning of November on Monday of last week in Abu Dhabi,” Westwood said. “It’s exhausting, to be honest. It appears that I am not able to get as much air into my lungs as I would like right now.
“I was completely out of sorts throughout the holiday season. I suffer from asthma, and it felt like I had the flu and a chest infection at the same time. I don’t get sick very often, and when I do, I despise it – and it takes a lot to get me to stop.
During the month of December, however, I didn’t get up from the couch at all. It took me by surprise how bad I was with it. The whole experience set me back a great deal, and I didn’t get much done in terms of fitness or anything else.
“I’m a little behind the eight-ball to begin the season, but given the circumstances, I’m pleased with where my game is at this point.”
Westwood has appeared visibly fatigued at times during the six competitive rounds he has competed in so far this year. Despite this, he has a strong record at the Dubai Desert Classic, having finished runner-up on three occasions and earning seven more top-ten finishes. He says winning this event is definitely on his bucket list, despite the fact that he has finished runner-up on three occasions.
It is a trophy that he would dearly like to win, and I’ve had a few close calls since finishing second to David Howell in 1999, a race that Howell won by four points.
The one that stands out in my mind is 2010, when Miguel Angel Jimenez defeated me in a play-off.” While I had a couple of bad breaks and missed some opportunities, he got lucky when his plug on the bank came out short and didn’t roll back into the water. Nine times out of ten, it is the truth.
“Then I finished second to Rafa Cabrera-Bello a couple of years later, and I was in the mix when Stevie Gallacher and Alvaro Quiros won it.” The majority of them are now blending in with the rest of the group. It feels like it was only five minutes ago. Scary.”
After Colin Montgomerie claimed that “that evil word, money,” was tearing the game apart, Westwood refused to be drawn into the debate over the massive amounts of Saudi Arabian cash being thrown at players. “That evil word, money,” said Montgomerie.
In an interview with Slync.io on Friday, Westwood was put on the spot when he was asked whether he thought there was anything ‘evil’ about the appearance fee he will receive for playing in next week’s Saudi International. “I haven’t read Monty’s comments, but everyone has their own point of view,” he responded.
In addition to Westwood, the Saudis are pursuing a number of other big names for their multi-million dollar Super Golf League. He clearly wants to keep his options open – especially given the fact that he will be 49 years old next month.
It’s impossible to resist the temptation of one last big payday. That was one of the reasons he announced he did not want to be considered for the Ryder Cup captaincy next year, although he insists it is mainly because he wants to make the most of his remaining time as a top-class competitor.
He again showed he can still mix it with the young guns as back-to-back 69s hoisted him into the top ten at the halfway stage in Dubai.
Read the original article on Golf Monthly.