PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Lee Westwood still doesn’t know why his father took him to the golf course.
He played just about every other sport in England when he was 12, such as football, cricket and rugby. He used to go fishing with his father, but the fish weren’t biting, mainly because Westwood kept throwing stones into the water. So off they went to a golf course called Kilton Forest, neither of them having ever so much as swung a club.
Westwood was hooked.
“I turned pro at 19 and came on tour, and he was still a 12 handicap, so I can’t understand the reasons for that,” Westwood said. “He went to every lesson that I’ve had, drove me there and sat there and listened to it. I just got a bit better than him. Must be down to talent or something like that. I must have my mom’s talent for golf.”
Westwood was particularly sharp with his dry humor Wednesday at Pebble Beach, where it’s easy to be in a good mood when the landscape is colored with a blue sky, green grass, white surf and a blazing sun.
He is making his first start on the PGA Tour, and this week is a reminder to the 39-year-old Westwood where his career all started.
It was his mother, a podiatrist, who bought a set of golf clubs from a patient in case her son wanted something to do while on holiday from school. It was his father, a math teacher, who had the idea of going to the golf course for the first time.
Nearly 30 years later, Westwood has put together quite the career. He reached No. 1 in the world, ending the five-year reign of Tiger Woods in October 2010. He has won the Order of Merit twice on the European Tour. He has played on eight Ryder Cup teams.