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Sky Sports Golf podcast: Justin Thomas’ win, Lee Westwood’s major hopes and Rory McIlroy’s struggles

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Lee Westwood posted back-to-back runner-up finishes on the PGA Tour at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and The Players; Sky Sports Golf podcast discusses his major prospects for 2021, Justin Thomas’ win at Sawgrass, Rory McIlroy’s swing changes and Dustin Johnson skipping the Olympics.

Lee Westwood has finished second in successive weeks on the PGA Tour

Lee Westwood has finished second in successive weeks on the PGA Tour

Lee Westwood is a 25-time European Tour winner, Ryder Cup legend and former world No 1, but is 2021 the year the Englishman can claim an elusive maiden major title?

The reigning Race to Dubai champion is back inside the world’s top 20 after an impressive two weeks on the PGA Tour, where he followed a runner-up finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational by finishing second to Justin Thomas at The Players.

Westwood has registered 19 major top-10s, in a career spanning across four different decades, although the 47-year-old’s resurgence over the past couple of years has led many wondering if he’ll add a major victory in 2021 to an already glittering career.

Lee Westwood played alongside Bryson DeChambeau in the final round at both events Lee Westwood played alongside Bryson DeChambeau in the final round at both events

The Englishman’s hope of major glory is among the big talking points in the latest Sky Sports Golf podcast, where Rob Lee and Jamie Spence joined Josh Antmann to reflect on Westwood’s form and golf’s other big talking points.

Thomas’ impressive victory at TPC Sawgrass and Rory McIlroy’s revelations about his swing changes are also discussed, along with Dustin Johnson’s decision not to feature in this summer’s Olympics.

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Why Westwood can win a major in 2021

Rob Lee on the Sky Sports Golf podcast:

“At the start of the year I said Lee Westwood could win a major this year, because the tournaments he has won recently on tough golf courses put him in that category.

“There are very few players who can sustain their game round after round, shot after shot, but he’s done that two weeks running on two real tests of golf at Bay Hill and TPC Sawgrass. He has been a phenomenal player his entire career.

Lee Westwood reflects on a runner-up finish at The Players and looks ahead to a pre-Masters trip to Augusta National with his son

“Yes, he hasn’t got the perfect game, but ball-striking wise he always gives himself a chance. His chipping and bunker play has improved a lot and when he looks half-decent with the putter, like he has done the past two weeks, then he’s a match for anybody.

“If things had gone his way over the past couple of weeks then he could’ve had back-to-back victories. If it all clicks into gear for him on one of the four weeks this year, then he could absolutely win a major.”

Is DJ right to withdraw from the Olympics?

Jamie Spence on the Sky Sports Golf podcast:

“It’s disappointing. He’s got The Open a couple of weeks before it and has got the FedExCup play-offs just after the Olympics, plus the WGC FedEx St Jude around then that he wants to play in.

Dustin Johnson would have automatically qualified to represent Team USA in Tokyo Dustin Johnson would have automatically qualified to represent Team USA in Tokyo

“In 30 years’ time, when he’s sitting on his rocking chair on his porch, he’s going to be thinking ‘wow, wish I’d gone to Japan’. I’ve played a practice round at Kasumigaseki and it would suit him down to the ground.

“I think anytime you have the opportunity as a golfer to play for your country you should, as it doesn’t come around very often and there aren’t many team events for us to play.

“You don’t get that many chances and surely he has enough cash sitting in his bank? It’s his choice and his career, which he has done fantastically in, but it’s something he may regret.”

Why did McIlroy chase extra speed?

Jamie Spence on the Sky Sports Golf podcast:

“We do some stupid things in life as sportsman and we’re constantly trying to find the next answer and the next this and that, but it’s just ludicrous to me for McIlroy to try and up his speed.

“The one thing that is missing from Rory’s game is control with his short irons, especially the wedge, and you don’t get through speed. That’s actually going to cause far more dispersion, far less control and it just doesn’t make sense.

The full post-round interview from Rory McIlroy, where he admitted that trying to add more length to his game – partly influenced by Bryson DeChambeau’s dominant US Open triumph – has led to his current swing problems

“Bryson [DeChambeau] has got them all at, even Rory with as great as he is! He drives it 320 and I just don’t get it. Rory’s made a mistake but good on him for coming out to the press and saying that.”

Also on the podcast…

The panel reflect on the worst golf shots they’ve ever seen by professionals after DeChambeau’s topped tee shot during the final round at The Players, as well as an incredible finish to the Qatar Masters and a dramatic victory for Antoine Rozner.

Bryson DeChambeau topped his tee shot into the water during the final round of The Players, only for playing partner Lee Westwood to also carve his effort into the hazard on the same hole!

Rob and Jamie share their stories of former European Tour caddie Rodney ‘Mucker’ Wooler, who died over the weekend, plus offer their predictions for this week’s live golf on Sky Sports and tackle the latest edition of Ponder the Pro.

Download and listen to the latest Sky Sports Golf podcast and don’t forget to subscribe via Spotify or Apple Podcasts!

The Vodcast version is out now on Sky Sports On Demand, with the show also on Sky Sports Golf this Tuesday at 10pm and Wednesday at 1pm, 7pm and 10pm.

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