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Page last updated at 16:25 GMT, Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Lee Westwood gets life membership from European Tour

Lee Westwood
Westwood is the third-highest money winner in the history of the tour

World number one Lee Westwood has been granted life membership of the European Tour after 17 years on the circuit.

The 37-year-old, who deposed American Tiger Woods from the top of the world ranking in October, has won 20 tournaments since his debut in 1994.

"I have always loved the Tour. It has played a huge part in my life and I will cherish this honour for the rest of my life," said Westwood.

The Worksop-based star will compete at the Dubai Desert Classic from Thursday.

Westwood has won the tour's season-long competition on two occasions, clinching the Order of Merit in 2000 and the Race to Dubai in 2009, and finished in the top three on five other occasions.

He is third in the tour's all-time money list, behind Ernie Els and Colin Montgomerie, with tournament winnings of £20.25m, and has picked up 19 points while playing in the last seven Ryder Cups.

Germany's Martin Kaymer, Westwood's closest rival in the world rankings, was the last player to be awarded life membership of the Tour, in 2010.

Westwood is the 37th player to receive the honour, joining names such as Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer and Arnold Palmer.

"He is a devoted family man, but also devoted to the tour on which he cut his teeth in professional golf," said the European Tour's chief executive George O'Grady.

"He has shown unswerving loyalty to the European Tour for the best part of 20 years and is fully deserving of being recognised with honorary life membership."

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see also
Win puts Kaymer second in world
23 Jan 11 |  Golf
Westwood starts 2011 in Abu Dhabi
19 Jan 11 |  Golf
Westwood cruises to Nedbank title
05 Dec 10 |  Golf
McDowell seals Cup win for Europe
04 Oct 10 |  Golf

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