Lee Westwood and caddie girlfriend get married before US Open

Lee Westwood and caddie girlfriend get married before US Open

SAN DIEGO — Lee Westwood had a terrific run of golf in March, with back-to-back runner-up finishes at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Players Championship. Since then, his form has sagged with only one top-20 finish in seven tournaments.

That hasn’t prevented Westwood from enjoying life. He married his longtime girlfriend and caddie, Helen Storey, last week in Las Vegas, where he posted a picture and this message on Instagram: “Not just here for the hockey! We said I do! #VivaLasVegas.’’

“This week’s going to be new — it’s going to be husband and wife,” Westwood said Wednesday ahead of the U.S. Open. “She might kind of give me the elbow a bit more often, but it’s a very relaxed relationship anyway. We just enjoy ourselves, trying to have a good time out there.”

Asked if this week will count as the honeymoon, Westwood joked, “Should do, shouldn’t it? I keep telling her that, but I think she’s got her eye on somewhere where I don’t take the golf clubs.”

Rory McIlroy delivered a somewhat surprising take when asked if he thinks the USGA should no longer play U.S. Opens at public golf courses like Torrey Pines and Bethpage Black.

“I would be in favor of that, I like that,’’ he said. “When you think of a U.S. Open, I think you think of the iconic venues that it has been played on. Obviously, Pebble being one, even like going back to ’13 at Marion, I thought was a huge success. I thought that was a really great U.S. Open. Obviously, Shinnecock. There’s courses that are just synonymous with U.S. Opens. I don’t really think we need to go too far outside of those.

“It’s sort of worked for the Open Championship. They have a rota of three or four courses. I think the reason Augusta has become what it’s become is because people are so familiar with it. Year after year, people tune in, they know the holes on TV, and I think that’s one of the reasons the Masters has become the spectacle that it is.’’

Lee Westwood wife Helen Storey US OpenLee Westwood and longtime girlfriend Helen Storey got married last week.AP

The PGA Tour’s Player Advisory Committee has voted to ban greens books at tournaments. Currently, the only tournament that forbids them is the Masters.

“I use a greens book and I’d like to get rid of them,’’ said McIlroy, who’s on the PAC board. “For the greater good of the game, I’d like to see them be outlawed and for them not to be used anymore. It’s just taking away a skill that takes time and practice to be mastered. Reading greens is a real skill that some people are better at than others, and it just nullifies that. It nullifies that advantage that people have. I think it’s made everyone lazier. People don’t put in the time to prepare the way they used to.’’

Why is Brooks Koepka so consistently better playing in major championships than he is in regular PGA Tour events?

“Just more focus,’’ said Koepka, who’s won four major championships and whose performances in non-majors is sometimes pedestrian by comparison. “Sometimes I just get lackadaisical out there. It’s tough to kind of really focus for me. It’s something I’ve got to work on in regular events, being a little more in tune and not just always looking at the majors and being on mentally for five, six, seven hours out here. It’s definitely different.’’

The best cumulative score to par in majors since 2016 is Koepka’s 82-under par. Dustin Johnson is next at 23-under followed by Xander Schauffele at 20-under.

The best cumulative score to par since the beginning of 2020 is Scottie Scheffler at 18-under, followed by Johnson at 15-under, Jon Rahm at 14-under, Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama and Patrick Reed at 13-under.

There are expected to be between 8,000 and 10,000 spectators per day this week at Torrey Pines, according to the USGA.