Apr
24
2011
Westy Wins on Birthday, Could Earn No. 1 Berth
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

Westy wins in Indonesia

Eleven hours before the champion of The Heritage is determined, Lee Westwood cruised to a three-shot victory over Thongchai Jaidee at the Indonesian Masters. The Englishman shot three-under 69 to close the Asian Tour event and moves closer to retaking the No. 1 spot in the world rankings if Luke Donald, who is set to tee off at 1:50ET, fails to win in South Carolina at Harbour Town. (Current No. 1 Martin Kaymer isn’t competing this week, but he’ll be dethroned regardless of the result here.)

When Westwood, who turned 38 on Sunday, walked off the 18th green, the gallery sang “Happy Birthday.”

Asked what he wanted for his birthday, Lee replied with a grin, “Something silver and shiny.”

“It was quite a day, really,” he said. “I knew it wasn’t going to be easy with a five-shot lead. I’m experienced enough to know that patience is the key. I hit the ball great, but didn’t hit the putts when it mattered.”

On his Twitter feed, Westwood posted the picture below with the caption, “Even the trophy didn’t bring out a smile from my security guards!!”

Though players downplay the importance of being No. 1, I think it means more to them than they let on. I’m a little bothered that Westy can move up in the rankings for winning a second-tier tour event with a weak field, relatively speaking. But yes, I know the rankings are a cumulative reflection of players’ results in the last two years. I just wish we could understand the system better instead of having to take the word of the powers-that-be. We now await the conclusion of The Heritage — can Donald hold on to become the third player who has held the top spot so far this year?

(AP Photo/Irwin Fedriansyah)