LEE Westwood is back in Memphis to defend his St Jude Classic title today.
The 38-year-old was victorious last year following a three-man play-off, and was happy to get the chance to defend this week.
He said: “It’s great to be back. It’s always nice to come back and defend a title.”
“You know, it was a spectacular way to win last year in a playoff, and I’m looking forward to this week.”
The Memphis tournament will be a warm-up exercise for the world number two golfer, ahead of the US Open a week today.
Westwood won’t get the chance to pit his wits against friend Tiger Woods, who has pulled out of next week’s event with an injury.
The Worksop golfer, having experienced his own injury problems last year, backed Woods’ decision.
“I can see why he’s pulled out.”
“I think it’s a mistake to try and play injured.”
“I made that mistake last year at the Bridgestone and had to pull out after two rounds.”
Westwood laughed off concerns about playing back-to-back tournaments in the stifling heat in America, saying: “ It was hotter than this in Indonesia a few weeks back when I won and then the following week I followed it up with a win, so it’s not really something – you can see what a physical specimen I am right now, so it’s something I just get on with.”
l WESTWOOD has been shortlisted for the MBNA Northern Sports Awards Sportsman of the Year gong.