ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Lee Westwood hurt his right ankle again but decided to play on Thursday at the Dunhill Links Championship with the world No. 1 ranking in sight.
Westwood aggravated the injury when he slipped on a steep slope by the seventh tee at Kingsbarns, but went on to complete the first round in 2-under 70.
“I felt a twinge and I panicked a bit,” he said. “I’ve had treatment and I’m going to play on.”
The Englishman took a seven-week layoff to rest the ankle, returning to action last week to help Europe regain the Ryder Cup. Westwood has been warned that if his ankle deteriorates he might have to take a complete break from golf for six months.
He has a chance to replace Tiger Woods as No. 1 in the world on Nov. 1 if he finishes inside the top 20 at the Dunhill Links and next week when he defends his Portugal Masters title.
He is four off the lead after the first round, tied for 47th place.
But the ankle was his bigger concern on Thursday.
“My main priority has to be to get myself and my golf in the best possible shape for the Masters next year,” he said.
“I made a mistake two months ago playing in the Bridgestone Invitational when it was not right. I should have rested after The Open at St. Andrews.
“Now it is a case of rehabbing and resting again.”