SUN CITY, South Africa, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Displacing Tiger Woods as world number one has meant an added drain on Lee Westwood’s time, the Briton said on Wednesday.
“I have a lot more commitments than before,” he told reporters on the eve of the Sun City Challenge. “Normally I’d be on the range practising but these days I have to do (more) interviews.
“I have to talk about the game a lot more, and not just golf, other sports too so time-management is very important,” added Westwood as he prepared for the 12-man tournament being held at the Gary Player Country Club.
“My first week at number one was spent in China and it added to the surprise that they gave me a security guard from the start. I was wondering why but at the end I knew why.”
The 37-year-old Englishman, who took over at the top of the rankings a month ago, said there was no added pressure on him to perform this week.
“If playing well creates pressure then I think you’re sending out the wrong message, there’s something wrong,” added Westwood.
“It doesn’t make it any harder to win. With the number one tag comes a lot of confidence, people are saying you’re the best player in the world.”
Westwood is chasing a first prize of $1 million at an event that was first held in 1981.
“I love coming here, there’s a good feel and I enjoy the course,” he said.
“There’s great prize money and I always enjoy playing in front of South African galleries, they’re always very passionate about their sport.”
Westwood is joined in Sun City by three other players ranked in the top 20 — South Africans Ernie Els (13) and Retief Goosen (19) and Italian Edoardo Molinari (17).
Els could be the biggest threat to the Englishman, having won the title on three previous occasions.
British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen also makes his first appearance in the tournament.
The other contenders are holder Robert Allenby of Australia, Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, Britons Justin Rose and Ross Fisher, Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, South African Tim Clark and Dane Anders Hansen.
Editing by Tony Jimenez. To query or comment on this story email email@example.com