Lee Westwood's X Factor - Dubai World Championship

An "X factor" is an unknown element that sets an athlete... or an actor, entertainer, business executive, etc... apart. (It's also a wildly popular, American Idol-inspired TV show involving Simon Cowell, but that's not what we're talking about here.)

Lee Westwood spoke of his own X Factor today, after an awesome 66 at the Dubai World Championship today. He was oozing brimming with confidence... so much so that some called it cockiness. The feeling, he explained, harkened back to just before the the turn of the century... which is the last time he feels he was playing really well.

He's got a two shot lead going into the final round which means he could well win the tournament ...and grab the $1,250,000 prize in the Race to Dubai. His confidence (cockiness... whatever) was probably given a boost by the late round meltdown of Race nemesis Rory McIlroy who bogied the last three holes today, which gives credence to Greg Norman's desire to create the toughest finish in golf at his Dubai Earth Course.

The X Factor thing came up when Mr. Westwood referred to a secret battle plan he had devised with his caddy... then refused to reveal any details. Many are undoubtedly hoping he'll be more revealing when/if he pulls off tomorrow's win.
Photo: Getty Images/Ross Kinnaird