LEE Westwood is the top seed as the Volvo World Match Play Championship gets underway at Finca Cortesin near Marbella today.
The 38-year-old will face off against Anders Hansen and Aaron Baddeley, the number 16 and 17 seeds respectively.
Along with competing for a top prize of £700,000, Westwood is fighting to stay world number one, as countryman Luke Donald could overtake him in the rankings with a win.
With the four current major champions counted amongst the 24 golfers taking part, Westwood admits it will be a tough task this weekend and he’s not looking past his first round opponents.
“It’s a great field they have got together,” he said.
“(Anders and Aaron) have both been playing well recently.”
“Anders, you see him pop up on leaderboards here, there, and everywhere, and Aaron played well last week and he’s obviously won already this year in LA.”
“As is right through the tournament, if you progress far enough, there will be no easy matches, and everybody is quite capable of beating everybody else over 18 holes.”
Coming into the competition on the back of two wins in the Far East, Westwood will be hoping to secure a hat-trick – at an event he has traditionally enjoyed.
“I’ve played well, especially when it was at Wentworth.”
“Obviously it was over 36 holes then, so it was a little bit more predictable.”
“This week, we’re 18 holes and you have to come out of the blocks fast and you can’t afford to make too many mistakes.”
“(I’ve) obviously played well the last couple of weeks.
“Been playing all right all year, but the last two tournaments I’ve played in, I started to make a few putts, which obviously makes a bit of a difference.”
Next week Westwood will be in action at the BMW PGA World Championship, alongside fellow Worksop export Mark Foster.
Foster takes some form to Wentworth having finished joint 15th in Barcelona at the start of May.
For an interview with him, see page 78