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World number one Lee Westwood starts 2011 in Abu Dhabi

World number one Lee Westwood
Westwood is refreshed and rejuvenated for the new year

World number one Lee Westwood is eager to start the new season in top form when he tees off his 2011 campaign at the Abu Dhabi Championship on Thursday.

The 37-year-old, in his 12th week at the top of the rankings, will also want to banish memories of last year's tournament when he missed the cut.

"I'm just trying to continue where I left off last season," he said.

"I've got the feeling it may be a good week, but I'm not putting pressure on myself, I go out with no expectations."

Westwood is part of a star-studded field at the tournament which features the winners of all four of last season's majors.

606: DEBATE

Since becoming world number one Westwood has played only three tournaments, finishing second to Ryder Cup team-mate Francesco Molinari in Shanghai, third at the Dubai World Championship and winning by eight strokes at the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa.

"There is a lot of focus on you when you are world number one - it's quite intense and there's a lot to do," he said.

"It was nice to get away, lock the clubs up for four or five weeks, not think about holing three or four-footers for par and get mentally fresh."

However, Westwood admitted that he is already thinking about the US Masters in April.

Last year he finished runner-up to Phil Mickelson in Augusta and he will have a chance to lock horns once again with the world number four in Abu Dhabi.

Mickelson has taken an even longer break than Westwood, having not played since mid-November, and says it is now "time to get back to work".

The American is playing six tournaments in a row, showing that the arthritis for which he received treatment last summer is not as much of a worry as it once was.

"My body feels great and I've been able to practise and work out," he said.

But even allowing for health problems, Mickelson has had only one top-10 finish since the US Open last June and will have to be at his best as he is paired with the winner of that tournament, Graeme McDowell, for the first two rounds in Abu Dhabi.

Open and US PGA champions Louis Oosthuizen and Martin Kaymer - who is defending champion at this tournament - are also paired together.



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see also
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf
Westwood cruises to Nedbank title
05 Dec 10 |  Golf
Molinari pips Westwood to title
07 Nov 10 |  Golf
Westwood 'deserves' top ranking
31 Oct 10 |  Golf
Westwood becomes world number one
31 Oct 10 |  Golf
Kaymer hangs on for Abu Dhabi win
24 Jan 10 |  Golf
McIlroy takes third in Abu Dhabi
24 Jan 10 |  Golf


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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
Sky Sports Kaymer cruises three clear - 27 mins ago
Belfast Telegraph Video: Padraig Harrington booted out off Abu Dhabi game after brushing ball - 2 hrs ago
The Independent Harrington disqualified from Abu Dhabi event new - 2 hrs ago
Sporting Life HARRINGTON DISQUALIFIED IN ABU DHABI - 5 hrs ago
PGA European Tour Schwartzel remains in front - 6 hrs ago


FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
Sky Sports Kaymer cruises three clear - 27 mins ago
Belfast Telegraph Video: Padraig Harrington booted out off Abu Dhabi game after brushing ball - 2 hrs ago
The Independent Harrington disqualified from Abu Dhabi event new - 2 hrs ago
Sporting Life HARRINGTON DISQUALIFIED IN ABU DHABI - 5 hrs ago
PGA European Tour Schwartzel remains in front - 6 hrs ago


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