From Greg Norman to Robbie Williams - Abu Dhabi champion Lee Westwood inundated with messages as he prepares for Omega Dubai Desert Classic

Englishman reveals he has received congratulatory messages from 'everybody from Gary Player and Greg Norman to Ronan Keating and Robbie Williams' since lifting Falcon Trophy

epa08146373 Lee Westwood of England attends a press conference ahead of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic 2020 Golf tournament at Emirates Golf Club in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 21 January 2020.  EPA/ALI HAIDER
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

The congratulatory messages Lee Westwood received following Sunday’s Abu Dhabi victory have come from far and wide.

There were the predictable ones, from the great and the good of golf, paying homage to the Englishman's 25th win on the European Tour, a streak that now spans four decades.

And then, some that you wouldn’t necessarily expect.

“Everybody from Gary Player and Greg Norman to Ronan Keating and Robbie Williams,” Westwood said on Tuesday, as he prepares for this week’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic. “It's a fairly broad spectrum of friends I've got.”

Evidently. Such has been the clamour to celebrate the two-shot triumph – Westwood’s first victory in 14 months – that the former world No 1 has struggled to respond personally to each one.

“Got, like, 150 WhatsApps to reply to, 70 text messages and 30 emails,” he said, laughing. “I love all the congratulations, but by the end, I was sending the thumbs-up [emoji] back.

“No, it's great. I've got a lot of good friends, friends from years ago when I was at school, sending me emails, and that's really nice. Anybody who's texted me, they are all my friends and they obviously are all very special.”

The good wishes now out of the way, Westwood can concentrate on making it back-to-back successes this week. He has previous in Dubai, having three times finished second - the first in 1999, the most recent 2012 - and recorded seven other top 10s. Last year, he came home tied-7th.

Better those runner-up finishes this week and Westwood would become the first player to secure the European Tour’s “UAE quadruple”. Abu Dhabi aside, he won the inaugural DP World Tour Championship in 2009, which helped capture that year’s Race to Dubai, too.

“To be honest, I didn't even realise it until people started talking about it.” Westwood said. “It's not something that even registered with me. But obviously it's nice to do it and, as a golfer, you should just focus on the bare facts, break it down trying to play well that week.

“If you're good enough and you play your best, then you'll have a chance of winning out here.”

Last week proved that. At 46, Westwood's experience could be key to not letting Abu Dubai impact negatively another strong showing in Dubai.

“The more you win, the more you get used to getting back to being on an even keel," he said.

"A lot of people, if they are won early in their career, they struggle to bring themselves back again. But I've won a lot of tournaments and I've won back-to-back.

"Yesterday I came up, hit a few balls. But being here, letting people congratulate me, being around, being present and getting that out of the way, let's me focus on this week's tournament quicker.”