Scottish Open conditions were 'unplayable', says Lee Westwood

Lee Westwood is seeking redemption in the home of golf this weekend after claiming that conditions were "unplayable" when his Scottish Open title bid faltered a fortnight ago.

Thursday, 15th October 2020, 7:17 am
Updated Thursday, 15th October 2020, 11:43 am
Lee Westwood plays a shot during his practice round for the Scottish Championship presented by AXA at Fairmont St Andrews. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
Lee Westwood plays a shot during his practice round for the Scottish Championship presented by AXA at Fairmont St Andrews. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

The Englishman played with compatriot Ian Poulter in the penultimate group in the third round of the Aberdeen Standard Investments-sponsored event at The Renaissance Club after sitting just two shots off the lead at the halfway stage.

But, on a day of non-stop rain that became really heavy for the later starters, Westwood was among those to suffer as he dropped out of contention with a 76 and eventually ended up in a tie for 19th behind winner Aaron Rai the following day.

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Poulter reckoned it had been "as tough a day as I've seen on a golf course in 21 years as a pro" and Westwood has now claimed that the European Tour should have taken action to avoid that being the case.

"I’ve made my views known to the European Tour," said the former world No 1, speaking as he prepared for the Scottish Championship presented by AXA, which starts today at Fairmont St Andrews.

"I thought the last nine holes on Saturday were unplayable. I couldn’t understand why, with the forecast, we didn’t do a u-draw on the Saturday. When we did one on the Sunday, it felt like they were rubbing it in a little bit.

"You couldn’t see the pins, the ball flight, where the ball had gone around the back nine. I nearly lost a couple of balls not far off-line.

"The greens needed squeegeeing on the last few holes, there were bunkers that were full of water with nowhere to drop, so you’d have to take a penalty drop. When you get to that stage, it’s unplayable.

"That’s my opinion on it. I know Poults holds the same opinion. It all could have been avoided if they’d have done a u-draw. The forecast was there to see from the Monday of the tournament. It’s a situation the last ten groups shouldn’t have been in."

According to Westwood, the highest-ranked player in this week's field in Fife, there should be no such weather worries for players or officials for the third and final leg of the circuit's second UK Swing.

"I’ve looked at the forecast and there’s hardly any wind," he observed. "What you’d say would be traditional conditions for this area in October, we seem to be devoid of that.

"Five, six, seven mile an hour winds and high pressure over this area that seems to be sticking around until Sunday.”

Westwood, who won the Dunhill Links in 2003 at the same time of the year in this part of the world, says being "stuck in a bubble" this week is stopping players from visiting their favourite local haunts.

"It’s different because part of the charm of coming to play in St Andrews is going into the town and soaking up the atmosphere," he said.

"There’s no going into the town, or into the Jigger for a pint. You turn up, test, pass, go into the hotel, practice, go to the gym.

"It’s clinical. No crowds to create that atmosphere, but needs must in certain cases."

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