LEE Westwood was involved in a mid-air emergency on Sunday, just days before he began his challenge for a major at the Masters in Augusta.
The Worksop golfer was in a private jet flying from Houston to Augusta with manager Chubby Chandler and fellow European Ryder Cup star Ross Fisher.
But as the plane approached the airport a small fire broke out in the cockpit, forcing the pilots to don their masks and make a rapid landing back to George HW Bush International Airport.
The plane landed safely and no-one was injured, but Westwood admitted seeing the smoke inside the plane had left him extremely worried.
“We took off, got about I guess three or four minutes in the air, and there was some smoke in the cabin, so the pilots donned the gas masks or whatever, oxygen masks, and turned it around fairly quickly; quicker than you would do normally and brought it down fast and once they got everything comfortable for them I guess, they just landed and we got the fire rescue guard of honor back to the handling agent,” he said.
“It was a bit nervy for three or four minutes. But not as drama-filled as some would have you make out; if you read the Sun, you would think we were on fire and landing like Memphis Belle or something like that.”
“I tell you on the next flight I had a very large double vodka.”
The group resumed their journey later on Sunday night and Westwood was able to continue his preparations.
He added: “That happened to me once before, in Switzerland, because the landing gear hadn’t come down properly.”
“I was having a bit of a chuckle about it afterwards because I’d come off the 18th green steaming after ripping the ball all day and then sticking my ball in the water on 18.”