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Westwood chips in on 606

Lee Westwood
Westwood did two press-ups while lining up a putt in Shanghai

By Rob Hodgetts

If Lee Westwood is acting and sounding a bit strange at the moment - it's probably deliberate.

The world number four is playing up to his fans on the BBC Sport website by allowing them to choose the colour of his shirts, select words to slip into interviews and even challenging him to perform press-ups on the green during a tournament.

Westwood's prone form on the 18th in the third round of the HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai on Saturday was not just a more meticulous approach to reading his putts.

The 606 website users put him up to it, and the Worksop star obliged with not one, but two, press-ups.

And they chose his turquoise shirt. And the use of the word 'shank' in a post-round interview.

606: DEBATE
Londonjonnyo

Westwood says he has been on 606 for a while but decided to reveal his true identity last month.

"I've been on here for a couple of years. Just thought I'd go public and give you a bit of an insight to the pro game," he posted.

Chatting directly to the public is nothing new, of course, in these days of micro blogging site Twitter and the like, but to prove his authenticity to the 606 community Westwood has taken interactivity to new levels.

A user calling himself leewestwood1 appeared on the golf pages in October but last week his claim to be the European Tour rankings leader and six-time Ryder Cup player was tested for the first time.

To prove he was real, leewestwood1 promised to wear a red shirt in the first round in China. The English number one was indeed sporting red.

A coincidence? Maybe, as some players often wear the same colour on designated days, but the hunt was in full cry.

"It gets a bit boring in China with jetlag. Thank God for 606 and a Slingbox," wrote leewestwood1 after the round.

"I'll give you the choice of white, purple, turquoise or blue tomorrow."

The posters settled on purple and sure enough, Westwood teed off in purple.

Excited and sensing a coup, some enterprising 606 users sent Paul Casey a message via Twitter to verify that it was the real Lee Westwood.

Casey replied, saying his countryman told him it was.

But the 606 users needed final proof - requesting a turquoise shirt on the third day and a press-up.

Lee Westwood
Westwood wore red as promised on 606 for the first round in Shanghai

"Turquoise shirt. Check. Press-up on 18th green. Check. Even got 'shank' in on radio interview," wrote leewestwood1.

This week the player's management company confirmed that it was indeed the 36-year-old English golfer.

But for final confirmation, regular user Goldwolf promised to pledge £50 to Children in Need if Westwood works the words "silver" and "dog" (Goldwolf's 606 nickname) into an interview at the Hong Kong Open this week.

"Get your £50 ready, it will not be a problem," replied leewestwood1.

Happy for now, the sleuths on 606 moved on to a user called midgetmac, claiming to be Rory McIlroy.

Chilli-mkII said: "Surely if Westwood had to jump through Hoops (actually that was a missed opportunity. We could have asked him, literally to jump through a hoop) to prove himself, then McIlroy should have to do similar.

"I'll open the bidding with turning his mop of hair into an early 90s-style undercut - now THAT would show commitment to 606."

And leewestwood1 added: "How about Rory turning his hair into a mullet? Even though I know it's really him. Or withdrawing from the next two weeks."

And to end any doubt, on Tuesday McIlroy confirmed his 606 identity with an emphatic Twitter update. "Yes, leewestwood1 is the real deal on 606 and midgetmac is of course myself! Good banter on the golf blog!!," he said.

At this rate, expect to see Mullet McIlroy in Hong Kong as he tries to overhaul leader Westwood in the Race to Dubai.

Over to you Rory!



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see also
Westwood secures Portugal victory
18 Oct 09 |  Golf
Westwood sets up golf school
22 Oct 09 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf


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