Golf

Lee Westwood draws inspiration from Liverpool's European miracle

England's Lee Westwood was in the Anfield crowd on Tuesday evening to witness Liverpool's stunning comeback win over Barcelona. He tees it up at the British Masters at Hillside in Southport today
By Phil Casey, Press Association Sport Golf Correspondent

LEE Westwood will look to take inspiration from Liverpool's Champions League triumph over Barcelona as he seeks a second British Masters title at Hillside.

Westwood was one of several European Tour players among the crowd at Anfield on Tuesday as Jurgen Klopp's side overturned a 3-0 deficit from the first leg to book their place in the final in Madrid on June 1.

"I think it's one of those that you'll sit down with your grandkids and you say, 'I was there that night'," Westwood said. "I think it's that big.

"Just an incredible turnaround and you would never have sort of thought it was going to happen. But you always sort of hold out hope that they might shake things up a bit and get some momentum."

Westwood compared the win with the 'Miracle at Medinah' in the 2012 Ryder Cup, when Europe recovered from 10-4 down to defeat the United States, adding: "You kind of think this is not going to happen but let's give them a scare, and all of a sudden the momentum goes with you and the crowd get on your side and it was incredible."

Westwood has played just five events so far in 2019 after failing to qualify for the Masters for the second year in succession, but is relishing competing at a venue where he won a 36-hole amateur event as a teenager more than a quarter of a century ago.

"I won the Pines Trophy in 1990 and I think I won by six," the 46-year-old said. "It was a tricky day and I think the first bogey I made was on the 15th in the afternoon.

"It's one of those great English links golf courses, over the years unfortunately technology has sort of taken over it a little bit with regards to the length of it.

"But I've always played it and thought it was every bit as good as next door (Royal Birkdale). I think it's one of those hidden gems that a lot of people don't play, but if they can they just love playing it.

"I've only played two tournaments in nearly three months, so I'm looking forward to playing. I've been playing a bit recently and the game is there or thereabouts, now we'll see how it holds up in competition.

"I'm not the person that I was 20 years ago, physically and mentally. I can't really compare myself to the Lee Westwood of the late '90s or even 2000s.

"But I know when I have a week on and I'm playing well and my game is in good shape I can still contend at any level, so I've still got ambitions in the game."

There are three Irishmen in the field at Hillside. Paul Dunne, who withdrew three holes into his second round at the Volvo China Open last week, is joined by Michael Hoey and Dubliner Gavin Moynihan. All three are among the afternoon starters on day one.

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