We will begin to see, in about an hour-and-a-half, just how far Lee Westwood has come from the David Duval-like slump that looked like it was going to kill his career. In 2002 and 2003, he had so lost his once promising game that there was no telling where the ball would go when he hit.

       A feature story about the Englishman by a countryman said that during a minor tournament in Europe in 2003, people in nearby swimming pools were not safe when he was hitting balls on the range.

        I personally almost got clipped by one of his stray shots during that era. I was sitting way up in the perch for reporters above the 18th green. the view is very good, but trust me, a ball has to be really, really, really off line and out of trajectory to wind up there. Yet his did.

        To his credit, he has been calm while talking about it this week--unlike Duval, who was alternately weird and crabby about his slump, which he believes is over.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

          Can Westwood hold off Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, not to mention K.J. Choi and Fred Couples? Beats me. It sure will be worth watching and he deserves praise for perseverance if he can do it.