The groin injury that ruled Lee Westwood out of two months of the European Tour resurfaced in the first round of the Alfred Dunhill Links on Thursday.
The Ryder Cup was Westwood’s first competitive action since early August and his leading performance seems to have taken its toll on the Englishman.
A top two finish this in this week’s tournament would see Westwood overtake Tiger Woods as the number one golfer in the world, but due to loopholes in the rankings system, Westwood would have taken the number one spot automatically if he didn’t feature for two weeks.
Westwood said on Wednesday that wasn’t the way he wanted to go about becoming the world number one, but he may regret the decision to play this week if he aggravates the injury further when he plays the Old Course at St Andrews on Friday.
A two-under par round of 70 on the Kingsbarns course had left Westwood four shots adrift of the leaders and in contention for a top two spot.
After five holes of the second day, Westwood remains at two-under but five shots behind Englishman John Parry and Argentinian Ricardo Gonzalez at the top of the leaderboard.
Westwood is likely to make the cut but his groin injury may rule him out of next week’s Portugal Masters in Vilamoura and as the top ranked player in the entry list and his withdrawal would mean a huge change in the European Tour betting market.
Westwood’s Ryder Cup team-mate Peter Hanson is teeing off at 11.32am with Oliver Wilson and Hanson is 11/10 to score better than his partner.
Europe’s Ryder Cup win was a sensational feat for Lee Westwood and he will be hoping to do the same in 2012 – Europe are 1/1 to win in 2012. See the full Alfred Dunhill Links Championship betting odds market here.