Lee Westwood Image Credit: EPA

Dubai: Unlike many sportsmen, Englishman Lee Westwood embraced his recent back injury and he sent a warning was to warning to the incoming fleet of the world’s top golfers that he is up for the fight at the DP World Tour Championship — beware the injured golfer.

Westwood is planning to upstage Tommy Fleetwood, Rory McIlroy, Patrick Reed, et al and claim the Race to Dubai Title once again after two decades.

Westwood, 48, will play just nine holes in practice ahead of the £6 million event at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai as he battles a back injury which forced him out of last week’s event at the same venue — the Golf in Dubai Championship on the neighbouring Fire Course.

Westwood seemed up for the challenge as he aims to overhaul an elite field and he competes for the DP World Tour Championship. Not an easy feat for an “old man” carrying an injury.

However, he warned that practice will mean nothing to a man who knows the course “like the back of my hand”.

“I’m 48 and I have to look after my body,” he said. “I’m delighted to even be in contention. I may feel old, but you should always beware the injured golfer.”

Westwood also relished the challenge of matching the scores set down on the Fire Course last week. “It’s difficult to say but that is regarded as the ‘easy’ course and Earth is the tough one.”. said Westwood. “I reckon it doesn’t matter. We have the world’s best golfers here this week and you will need to shoot low to beat anyone.” He will be up against a strong field including Tommy Fleetwood, Rory McIlroy, Danny Willett and Patrick Reed.

The former world No. 1 has two Rolex Series titles and most recently won out here at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January — ahead of the coronavirus pandemic — he seems keen to add a third.

“I know I have not been out there. Maybe I was a little selfish by not playing last week, but I’m getting old and I need to look after my body,” Westwood said. “The business starts on Thursday and I have played this course more than anyone. Back of my hand.”

As it stands

Patrick Reed leads the way but Westwood has been here before — knowing a victory on the Earth Course can crown him champion again after 21 years.

1. Patrick Reed (USA), 7 tournaments, 2,427.7 points

2. Tommy Fleetwood (ENG), 10 tournaments, 1,967.7 points

3. Collin Morikawa (USA), 5 tournaments, 1,881.7 points

4. Lee Westwood (ENG), 14 tournaments, 1,793.0 points

5. Vitcor Perez, (FRA), 13 tournaments, 1,713.9 points

6. Aaron Rai (ENG), 16 tournaments, 1,688.2 points

7. Louis Oosthuizen (RSA), 8 tournaments, 1,646.2 points

8. Tyrrell Hatton (ENG), 6 tournaments, 1,453.0 points

9. Christian Bezuidenhout (RSA), 15 tournaments, 1,382.7 points

10. Lucas Herbert (AUS), 12 tournaments, 1,332.4 points