The Players Championship: Lee Westwood says age caught up with him in final round at TPC Sawgrass
Lee Westwood led heading into Sunday's final round at TPC Sawgrass but was denied by Justin Thomas' four-under 68; "I hate to say it, age is catching up with me"; watch the Honda Classic and The Masters live on Sky Sports
Last Updated: 15/03/21 12:09am
Lee Westwood said he felt age was catching up with him during the final day of the Players Championship after he finished runner-up for a second successive week.
The Englishman, who turns 48 next month, shot an even-par 72 on Sunday - the only time he failed to break par all week - to finish one shot behind Justin Thomas at TPC Sawgrass, to extend his wait for a first PGA Tour title since June 2010.
Westwood, denied victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational by Bryson DeChambeau last week, led by two shots going into the final round, but conceded fatigue played a part in not producing his best golf.
"Obviously, when you're in contention, you'd like to win every tournament you're playing in, but I didn't quite have my game today," Westwood said.
"I don't know what it was. Maybe I have just played a lot of golf. I hate to say it, age is catching up with me. Yesterday I felt like my legs were just starting to get a bit tired and weak, and today I just didn't feel like I had my legs under me."
Westwood was guilty of some errant tee shots, including at the fourth where he sliced his ball into a penalty area on his way to one of four bogeys in the round.
He added: "I was hitting shots I don't normally hit. The ones right off 2, 4, and 11 were poor shots. Couldn't quite find the strike."
Westwood, who won the European Tour's order of merit title for the third time in December to become the oldest Race to Dubai champion, refused to be downcast with the result, however.
"It's a battle sometimes," he said. "That's championship golf. If you don't like it, you're in the wrong job."
Westwood will aim to go one better at the Honda Classic next week and admitted he was grateful to be playing a sport he loves while much of the world continues to struggle with the impact of the coronavirus.
Asked to compare his emotions towards the sport now rather than in 2010, he replied: "I do enjoy the game more. I take it for what it is: A game. We're just trying to get a little white ball into a little white hole.
"It gets treated far too seriously occasionally. With what's going on in the world, it's fun to be doing a job that I love and that I've done for 28 years, and I'm still doing it.
"You know, there's no down side, really. I didn't deserve to win today because I didn't hit the ball well enough. You've got to have realities in your life, and my life is full of reality."
But his recent run of form has increased confidence from within the game that he can clinch an elusive major title, with the Masters around the corner at Augusta next month.
"I'm just having so much fun," Westwood said.
"Everybody keeps telling me how old I am. I'm 48 in a month's time, and I'm still out here contending for tournaments and playing in final groups with great players like Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas and people like that.
"It's just a joy to be involved and still playing well and being able to contend."
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