LYTHAM (AFP) –
England’s finest, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, were both left scratching their heads yet again over just how to win a major title at the end of the British Open on Sunday.
World No. 1 Donald had a 69 for a two-under total of 278 while World No. 3 Westwood had a 72 to stand at six over.
They have now gone a combined 95 majors without a single title to their credit — 58 of the starts to 39-year-old Westwood and the 37 others to 34-year-old Donald.
It was all the more disappointing for home fans who had flocked to the Lancashire links course in the hope of seeing an Englishman win the Open on English soil for the first time since Tony Jacklin did so here 43 years ago.
No Englishman has won the British Open at all since Nick Faldo at Muirfield in Scotland in 1992 and it was Faldo who last won a major for England at the 1996 Masters.
Donald could rightly be proud of his final day’s performance, which saw him move up the leaderboard into a tie for fifth, matching his best peformance to date in the British Open. But he is fully aware that more is expected of him.
“It was one of those rounds where I did a lot of good things,” he said.
“Unfortunately I couldn’t quite hole the putts, but I’ll take a lot of positives away from this week.
“Certainly I’ll leave this week knowing that my game is definitely good enough to win majors.
“It’s a big step forward for me from a few weeks back, from the US Open (where he missed the cut).
“I’ll come away from here with a lot of confidence knowing that my game tee to green was easily good enough to win this week.”
This time around, Donald cannot point the finger of blame at getting off to a slow start — a habit that has hampered him in some other recent majors.
He kicked off with a solid-enough 70, but failed to make much of an impression in his middle two rounds before closing strongly on Sunday.
He will have the consolation of staying as World No. 1 for a 54th week, but the pressure on him to win a major will crank up another notch, he knows.
“It’s nice being No. 1. I’ll continue to work hard on my game and try and produce good results,” he said.
“I mean, world rankings is a little bit more about consistency. I’ve probably been the most consistent player over the year.”
For Westwood, the new strategy has already been drawn up as he has opted to move himself and his family to the United States where he intends to play more regularly on the US PGA Tour.
Asked what thought process had gone into making that decision, he replied: “The English winters and the English summers.
“And the fact I like playing on the PGA Tour now. It was well reported that I struggled over there, but over the last few years I’ve seemed to enjoy it a lot more and now have a good time over there.”
“It’s a big decision, anytime you move your family from one place to another is a big decision, but we’re obviously moving a long way. But everybody is excited about it.”
Next chance up for major glory for the English pair will be the PGA Championship, which will be played at Kiawah Island, South Carolina, in August.
All in all it was a miserable Open for English golfers.
Both Justin Rose and Paul Casey missed the cut and Donald and Ian Poulter were the only home players to crack the top 20.