Westwood's award has great meaning

Lee Westwood has been selected the European Tour's Golfer of the Year for 2009.


The 36-year-old Englishman was given the award for the third time in his career after a consistent season. He won the Dubai World Championship and finished at the top of the European money list.

Westwood also won the award in 1998 and 2000. He then had a long slump and fell out of the top 100 in the rankings, before climbing back to his current spot at No. 4.

Westwood said Tuesday that "to drop completely into obscurity and come back from that to get back into the world's top five and win the first race to Dubai means a lot."

MULTI-TASKING: Michelle Wie is taking time out from final exams for golf at the Dubai Ladies Masters.

Wie, who attends Stanford, said she sat up most of the night working on her statistics final.

Wie is coming off her first professional win on the LPGA Tour in November. She also has a sore ankle that caused her to withdraw from the LPGA Tour Championship in November. Wie said the ankle has yet to fully heal, but it feels better.

Wie faces a strong field in the tournament, which starts today and is the season-ending event on the Ladies European Tour.

LPGA Championship winner Anna Nordqvist and Women's British Open champion Catriona Matthew are competing, along with European money list leader Sophie Gustafson and Laura Davies.

DALY ON DALY: Now that John Daly has his weight problem sorted out, he figures a movie about his up-and-down career -- and life -- might not be far behind.

Just before heading out to the revamped Hyatt Regency resort course for a practice round ahead of the Australian PGA in Coolum, the slimmed-down Daly, who has lost 115 pounds, entertained an early morning news conference Tuesday with his cinematic plans based on a new book he would write himself.

He nominated King of Queens star Kevin James as the actor who might play him before his weight loss, and ahead of February's lap-band surgery.

And who'd play the now-185 pound Daly?

"I just saw Matt Damon , how he swung a golf club, and I thought if I ever made a movie, I want him to be me," Daly said. "The tough part is who would play me at 290 pounds. Now Kevin James, he's my bud, but he'd be good."

When asked what the main storyline might be, he said: "It would just be the life, it would be the whole thing. the guts of it all."

"The problem is who is going to play all the ex-wives?" added Daly, who has four ex-wives, to laughter. The most recent book about his life, John Daly, My Life in and Out of the Rough, was published in 2006.

ASIA INVASION? Tim Finchem held a news conference during the World Golf Championship in Shanghai that led to speculation about an "Asian Invasion" by the PGA Tour. Now there's some substance involved.

About a week after Finchem returned from an 18-day trip to Asia, the PGA Tour announced a new tournament in 2010 called the Asia Pacific Golf Classic in Malaysia with a 40-man field, 25 of them from the PGA Tour. It will be co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour and feature a $6 million purse, the richest ever for that region without it being a WGC.

BACK TO ITS ROOTS: Unless a title sponsor is found soon, the tournament at Torrey Pines will be called the San Diego Open.

The Buick Invitational is no more, with the automaker getting out of its contract early. It has been listed as the Century Club of San Diego Invitational -- Century Club is the host organization -- but tournament director Tom Wilson said it would go back to its roots.

It was called the San Diego Open when it began in 1952.

DIVOTS: Stuart Appleby has decided to use his one-time exemption from the top 25 on the career money list for his PGA Tour card next year. ... Camilo Villegas will be getting an early start to his European Tour season by playing in the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the same week as the Bob Hope Classic. Also scheduled for Abu Dhabi are Westwood, Geoff Ogilvy , Sergio Garcia and defending champion Paul Casey .


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