Just days removed from yet another close call on one of golf's biggest stages, Lee Westwood remains optimistic that he'll still have chances in the future to raise a major championship trophy for the first time.
'I don't see finishing third in the Open as a career nearly over,' the Englishman told the Irish Independent. 'That's more like, 'Oh, I've still got it.''
After forging a two-shot lead through 54 holes at last week's British Open, Westwood struggled to a 4-over 75 in Sunday's final round at Muirfield, finishing in a tie for third, four shots behind Phil Mickelson. The result was Westwood's sixth top-10 finish in the last 10 majors played, and his eighth top-three finish at a major since the 2008 U.S. Open. If anything, the near-misses have served as further motivation for Westwood as he continues his search for a maiden major win.
'Twelve years ago, I was playing crap and that's when you feel like walking away. Not when you're having top-threes in major championships,' he said. 'You don't feel like walking away then. You feel like finding that little bit where you need to improve.'
Having celebrated his 40th birthday in April, the Englishman can take solace in the recent streak of British Open winners; Darren Clarke (2011) and Ernie Els (2012) both claimed the Open at age 42, while Mickelson lifted the claret jug on Sunday at age 43. He points to advancements in equipment as one of the keys to helping the over-40 crowd remain competitive.
'Players are looking after themselves now. Technology has helped to a certain extent,' he explained. 'Twenty years ago, you got to 40 and your game started to drop off because technology didn't help at all.
'Look at Miguel Angel Jimenez,' added Westwood, citing last week's 36-hole leader. 'He was leading the Open at 49 and he'd just broken his leg! Why put age limits at all?'