'I've got pins and needles in my left arm, which I've had for about four days now,' explained Westwood. 'I've got them in my upper arm and in my shoulder. I've also got a pain in my elbow and I'm finding it difficult to grip the club with the little finger. I can't really hold the club as I'm trying to release it and, as a result, I can't square the club up properly.'
Westwood said he first felt the sensation Thursday after hitting his second shot on the first hole at the Marriott Forest of Arden course. His caddie suggested he consider pulling out rather than risk further injury, but Westwood decided to play on and stood at 1-under-par after five holes.
'But as soon as I got the driver in my hand (on the tee at the 466-yard sixth), I didn't feel I could hit it with any sort of confidence,' he said.
Westwood finished atop the 2000 European Tour Order of Merit on the strength of five victories that season, bringing an end to Colin Montgomerie's seven-year reign as Europe's No. 1 player. Westwood has struggled mightily since, however, slipping to 52nd on the Order of Merit in 2001. He is 93rd on the current European money list and 78th in the World Golf Ranking.
Westwood's best stroke-play finish of the 2002 is 44th at The Masters in the U.S. He missed three straight cuts after Augusta then tied for 45th at last week's British Masters. He hasn't posted a round in the 60s yet this year.
Westwood, who isn't entered in next week's U.S. Open, admitted his absence from the season's second major isn't necessarily a bad thing.
'I've got the U.S. Open off next week, so that's probably a blessing in disguise,' he said. 'I'll probably have two weeks off to get it sorted out.'
Westwood was also forced to withdraw with an arm injury from last year's WGC- NEC Invitational at Firestone in Akron, Ohio.
Full-field scores from the English Open