PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – At 47 years old Lee Westwood is admittedly a creature of habit, but in 2020 those habits were altered for everyone.
The Englishman went home to Europe when the pandemic halted play last March and didn’t return to the United States and the PGA Tour until September. He finished the year with just four events after the circuit’s restart.
This year has been a return to something approaching normal, especially over the last few weeks as the PGA Tour began its traditional Florida swing with increasing crowds.
“There's certainly more familiarity with it. It's the run of tournaments that we've done before. I always play well when I play on a run rather than stop-start,” Westwood said Thursday following a first-round 69 at The Players. “People are here watching, that's great. [Caddie/girlfriend Helen Storey] was saying [when] we were on the 16th even though there aren't 100 percent crowds in yet, there was still that hum and that buzz and that kind of feeling and that atmosphere, which we didn't get when there were no crowds.”
Westwood finished second last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. It was his best Tour finish since he was a runner-up at the 2016 Masters.