Jakarta, Indonesia: English star Lee Westwood hopes to don the famous Green Jacket when he headlines the inaugural US$750,000 Indonesian Masters at Royale Jakarta Golf Club next month.
The world number two will be the firm favourite at the star-studded Asian Tour tournament from April 21 to 24, 2011 but he hopes to fly into Jakarta as the new Masters champion. The season’s first Major starts next week.
While the talented Westwood has won more than 30 international titles including being crowned Europe’s number one in 2000 and 2009, the 37-year-old is craving for a career first grand slam title.
“Yes, the main goals for me is to win a major and then hopefully more,” said Westwood, who finished second at the Masters and British Open last season and was tied third at the PGA Championship and British Open in 2009.
Westwood had an outstanding 2010 season when he won twice around the world and posted seven other top-fives but with victories previously in Malaysia, Japan and Macau, he is confident of challenging for the Indonesian Masters title when he heads to Asia.
“I am looking forward to it very much. I have been coming to play in Asia for many years now although I have only played in Indonesia once before,” he said. “I’ll be doing everything I can to win”.
“I think everything has improved (in Asia). The golf courses have improved, the standard of Asian players has improved and overall everything is better. Now there are Asian players contending against the rest of the world.”
Westwood dislodged Tiger Woods from the top spot on the Official World Golf Rankings at the end of 2010 before being overtaken by Germany’s Martin Kaymer last month. He believes an Asian player would occupy the lofty position in the near future.
“I think Asia has a very a good chance. I mean you have the likes of Noh Seung-yul (the reigning Asian Tour number one) and Ryo Ishikawa and other young players. The Asian players have a lot of chance and the people in Asia will be watching these young people and if they don’t get to be world number one, then hopefully some of these young kids watching these players will do so one day,” he said.
“I am sure I will face tough competition (at the Indonesian Masters). I mean the Indonesian players and the Asian Tour players are not going to be easy to play against. It’s not easy to come and play in different places so I have to be in top form.”
Westwood first visited Indonesia in 2007 for the Indonesia President Invitational where he finished equal third and hopes to soak in more of the country this time around.
The English star is also hoping his presence in Indonesia will stir up local interest in the game and provide an added boost for the Asian Tour, the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, to grow the game.
Apart from Westwood, Thai star Thongchai Jaidee, the first man to win three Asian Tour Order of Merit titles, Chapchai Nirat, who holds the world scoring record for 72 holes, and India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar will star in the Indonesian Masters.
“While it would ordinarily be a strong field, I hope I can add something to the tournament and help promote golf in the country,” he said.
“I am really looking forward to it. I can’t wait.”
Photo - Asian Tour
Asian Tour GolfGreedy.com