Westwood turns to Stockton to help putting


AKRON, Ohio – Maybe it was the major success of stable mate Rory McIlroy. Maybe it was just time. Whatever the reason, Lee Westwood, a perennial also-ran in majors, made the move to putting guru Dave Stockton Sr. this week at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Stockton, who began working with McIlroy this spring and is credited with helping Phil Mickelson, had his first session with Westwood at Firestone on Monday.

“He tends to be mechanical and he takes too long (over the ball),” Stockton said. “Luckily, he just came from (Dave) Pelz and he was trying to get him to speed up as well.”

Stockton had Westwood do away with his normal practice strokes and convinced him to add some urgency to his pre-putt routine.

“I told him, ‘Lee, I’m going to start counting and when I get to four you’d better hit the ball,’” Stockton said.

Westwood, one of the game’s best ball-strikers, is a pedestrian putter at best. He would rank 127th on Tour in putting average if he had enough starts to qualify and yet has finished in the top 3 in five of the last eight majors.