The Englishman has a chance to break a special record that has stood for over 30 years
Lee Westwood Has Sights Set On Breaking Jack Nicklaus’ Masters Record
In what will be his 20th Masters appearance, Lee Westwood has admitted he is relishing the chance to break Jack Nicklaus’ record as the tournament’s oldest ever champion.
The Englishman comes into the event on the back of some scintillating performances, having rediscovered some of his very best form en route to back-to-back second-place finishes at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the PLAYERS Championship.
And now up to 20th in the world rankings, Westwood has been tipped by many to go well at Augusta National where he has enjoyed reasonable success in the past.
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Speaking ahead of the event, 47-year-old Westwood, who will have his son Sam on the bag this week, was asked if he would be using Nicklaus’ win in 1986 as motivation.
He said: “Even without that, Jack has always been an inspiration the way he played the game, especially his record around here. You can’t help being inspired.
“There’s a few similarities there with age. It would be great to break his record.
“I saw Jack a few weeks ago at the Honda, and I still remember the first time I played this tournament in 1997. I played the final round with Jack, and I knew I was playing with him on the Sunday.
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“And I went out on the Saturday night and bought the picture, the iconic one where he’s following the ball into the hole on 17 with his putter.
“And after we played on the Sunday, I had done enough to qualify for the following year, fortunately. I think we had to finish top 24 at that stage. And I said to Jack, ‘Would you mind signing this picture for me?’
“And I still have it to this day all framed up where he’s put: ‘Lee, enjoyed our round, best wishes, Jack Nicklaus’.
“There’s very few people you would do that with. He’s a legend of the game and arguably the greatest player to ever play the game.
“His record in the major championships and especially Open Championships and here, you know, is second to none.
“To have a chance to break one of his records would be very special.”
Westwood undoubtedly enters this year’s Masters with his best chance to contend for a while, but that won’t change the Englishman’s approach that has served him well over the last few years.
“As for expectations, I don’t really have any, but I don’t really have any at any tournaments I turn up to anymore,” he said.
“I just put the preparation in, hit it off the first tee and try and find it and hit it on the green, and hopefully have a birdie chance and make a few of those.
“After that, it’s in the lap of the gods, really.”