Players' Player of the Year eyes elusive major title

The Englishman, who finished joint third at the British Open and the PGA Championship last year, says his main objective was to win one of the top events.

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ABU DHABI // Despite starting the new season much as he finished the last - celebrating and holding a glimmering silver award - Lee Westwood said this week's Abu Dhabi Championship signals an opportunity to shift the focus from former glories to future success. The world No 4's last competitive round came in November at the Earth Course where he won the Dubai World Championship and claimed the inaugural Race to Dubai. Yesterday, meanwhile, on the eve of the start of his title defence, he was named the European Tour Players' Player of the Year.

But the 36-year-old said that while recognition was always welcome, he was ready to move on starting today at the National Course. "Winning the Dubai World Championship and the Race to Dubai was an unbelievable moment for me and one that will live with me forever," said Westwood. "But you have to, at some point, stick [last year] in a box and move on, although still feed off the confidence; especially from the end of the year and the last tournament."

The Englishman, who finished joint third at the British Open and the PGA Championship last year, said retaining the European Order of Merit was his minimum goal for 2010, adding his main objective was to end the season with an elusive major. "Winning the Money List, there's not many places to go from there, other than I suppose winning it by more," he said. "But the majors are where I can improve because I haven't won one - and that's everybody's goal. It's the yardstick by which all top professionals are measured.

"I feel like I should have won The Open Championship last year, but didn't, and I have learned a few things from that. The more often I get into situations like that, the more comfortable I feel and I'm now at the stage where I should be in those positions at most majors." Westwood gets his season under way today alongside last year's winner Paul Casey and Australian Geoff Ogilvy.