â†µâ‡¥"It's definitely nice to win again. Nobody likes negative questions when you try to be positive all the time. â†µâ‡¥â†µGolf has been taking away from Westwood for a while. Recognized as perhaps the best player in the world without a major title, Westwood had just two wins since the 2007 season, coming in late 2009 in the Portugal Masters and the Dubai World Championship. He does, however, have one heck of a track record in the recent majors. So does his first win in the United States in 12 years make him the favorite heading into the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach? It should. â†µ
â†µâ‡¥"Golf is a funny game. Sometimes it gives. Sometimes it takes away." â†µâ‡¥â†µ
â†µSure, Tiger Woods is the favorite at any event he plays, and yes, Woods has a history of fantastic play at Pebble Beach. But Woods hasn't exactly been the old Tiger Woods this season, so if he's not the favorite, why shouldn't it be Westwood? â†µâ†µ
â†µThe Englishman has three straight top-three finishes at major championships, finishing tied for third in the 2009 Open Championship and PGA Championship to go with his second-place finish at this year's Masters. He placed 23rd at the 2009 U.S. Open – a top-25 finish but far from contention – but finished third in 2008, his best-ever finish in the event. â†µâ†µ
â†µNow that Westwood finally has another win on American soil, he's headed to Pebble Beach beaming with confidence. Could it be his time to finally grab that major for his illustrious trophy case? â†µâ†µ
â†µIf he does – and how's this for serendipity for you – he'll have to do it head-to-head with the world's best. Westwood is paired with Woods and Ernie Els for the first two rounds. Methinks the galleries could be pretty big for that group, so it will be interesting to see how Westwood handles the added pressure in the early rounds. That said, Westwood was paired with Woods in the early rounds of The Open Championship last year when he finished third. Woods missed the cut. â†µâ†µ
â†µBodog has Westwood at 2/1 odds with just two golfers – Woods and reigning Masters champion Phil Mickelson – ahead of him at 11/8. Yet while Westwood may have his own personal history working for him, he has U.S. Open history working against him. The last Englishman – heck, the last European – to win the U.S. Open was Tony Jacklin in 1970. There have been just seven trophies since then given out to non-American players. â†µâ†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.