'I Couldn't Get Off The Couch For Two Weeks' – Westwood Reveals Covid Impact

The Englishman says contracting Covid-19 over Christmas still has him struggling to get enough air into his lungs

'I Couldn't Get Off The Couch For Two Weeks' – Westwood Reveals Covid Impact
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Lee Westwood has revealed the depths of his struggles after contracting Covid-19 towards the end of last year. 

The 48-year-old says he was couch-ridden over the Christmas break and admits the draining effects of the virus have left him behind in his recovery and struggling to get enough air into his lungs.

“Monday of last week in Abu Dhabi was the first time I've walked 18 holes since playing in Houston at the start of November,” Westwood said. “It's draining, yeah. I don't feel like I can get as much air into my lungs at the moment.  

“I felt totally off colour all over Christmas. I'm asthmatic, as well, and it felt like I had the flu and a chest infection. I'm not very often ill and I hate it when I am – and it takes a lot to stop me. 

“But I didn't really get off the couch for two weeks in December. It surprised me how bad I was with it. The whole thing knocked me back quite a lot and didn't get a lot done with my fitness or anything.  

“I'm a bit behind the eight-ball starting the season but considering that, I'm happy with where my game is at.” 

In six competitive rounds so far this year, Westwood has looked visibly tired at times. But despite that, with a good record at the Dubai Desert Classic - he has been a runner-up on three occasions, and has also clocked up seven more top-ten finishes - he says winning this event is definitely on the bucket list. 

He added: “It’s a trophy I’d really like to pick up, and I’ve had a few close calls since I was second to David Howell back in 1999, although Howeller actually ran away with that one and beat me by four. 

“But I guess the one that stands out was 2010, when Miguel Angel Jimenez beat me in a play-off. I had a few bad breaks and I had my chances, and he had a good break when he plugged on the bank short and it didn't roll back in the water. Nine times out of ten it does.

“Then I was a shot behind Rafa Cabrera-Bello a couple of years later and I came close when Stevie Gallacher won it, and Alvaro Quiros. They are all blending in now, quite a few of them. It seems like five minutes ago. Scary.” 

Meanwhile, Westwood refused to be drawn into the row over the huge amounts of Saudi Arabian cash being thrown at players, after Colin Montgomerie said the game was being torn apart by “that evil word, money”.

Westwood was put on the spot at the Slync.io on Friday when he was asked if he felt there was anything ‘evil’ about the appearance fee he will receive for playing in next week’s Saudi International. He replied: “I haven’t seen Monty’s comments – but everyone’s got their own opinions.”

Westwood is one of the big names being pursued by the Saudis for their multi-million Super Golf League. He clearly wants to keep his options open – especially as he will be 49 in April.

One final huge pay day is bound to be tempting. That was one of the reasons he announced he did not want to be considered for the Ryder Cup captaincy next year, although he insists it is mainly because he wants to make the most of his remaining time as a top-class competitor.

He again showed he can still mix it with the young guns as back-to-back 69s hoisted him into the top ten at the halfway stage in Dubai.

David Facey
David Facey

David brings a wealth of experience to Golf Monthly as a freelance contributor having spent more than two decades covering the game as The Sun's golf correspondent. Prior to that, he worked as a sports reporter for the Daily Mail. David has covered the last 12 Ryder Cups and every Masters tournament since 1999. A popular and highly-respected name in the press tents around the world, David has built close relationships with many of the game's leading players and officials.