Lee Westwood got off to a horrible start in the third round of the French Open on Saturday, influenced by an injury scare before play started. The world No. 3 slipped walking to the first tee at Le Golf National, tweaking his knee and straining his groin muscle.
“I was talking to (playing partner) Richard Sterne’s caddie and not looking where I was going,” Westwood told Sky Sports. “I slipped on wooden sleepers down the side of the cart path. My left foot went forward about two feet and my right foot stayed where it was. It left like I strained something at the top of my right leg and tweaked my right knee as well. I didn’t really have much confidence in it and as the round went on I just kept stretching my groin out.”
He was 7 over par through six holes, including an opening double bogey. As the pain subsided, Westwood played the final 12 holes in 2 under. The 5-over 76 left Westwood a dozen shots behind co-leaders David Howell and Anders Hansen.
“I didn’t try to overdo it over the first few holes but lost everything to the right – I couldn’t put any weight on it,” he said. “I don’t know what I’ve done to it.”
The French Open has not been good to Westwood in the last several years. Westwood withdrew ahead of the tournament in 2010 with turned out to be a ruptured calf muscle in his right leg. He finished a distant runner-up to Louis Oosthuizen in the British Open, then did not play again until the Ryder Cup.
“Hopefully I’ve just tweaked it,” Westwood said, “and not done anything more serious than that.”