Injured Westwood withdraws from PGA Championship

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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

AKRON, Ohio (Reuters) - Lee Westwood pulled out of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and next week's U.S. PGA Championship Friday because of a badly swollen right calf and ankle.

The British world number three has been hampered by the injury since before the start of last month's French Open but he battled through that tournament and the British Open at St. Andrews which followed.

"I will be out for as long as it takes to get better," Englishman Westwood said in a statement after carding a six-over-par 76 in the second round at Firestone Country Club.

"I am just hoping that it will be in time for me to play in the (October 1-3) Ryder Cup."

After finishing an impressive second behind South African Louis Oosthuizen at the British Open, Westwood took the next two weeks off to rest his ankle before returning to action at this week's Bridgestone Invitational.

He had been optimistic his injury was on the mend with the final major of the year taking place next week but he was in subdued mood after posting a seven-over total of 147 Friday.

"It just seems to be getting worse," Westwood told reporters. "There's no strength in it. I don't have a deal of confidence in it and then on the way down (in his swing) I'm finding it hard to hold my weight on it and then push off."

The 37-year-old had teed off in Thursday's opening round with the chance of replacing Tiger Woods as world number one after this week but that opportunity was the last thing on his mind Friday.

"I can't worry too much about the world No. 1 thing, it's just unfortunate there's a major championship (to come) and that the (British) Open was the week after I injured my leg," Westwood said.

Asked what he could do to help the ankle apart from getting ice compression treatment and taping it up, he replied: "Sit on my backside for six weeks like they keep telling me. It's the only way to improve it.

"I'd like to be working out but I can't put any weight on it in the gym, so my legs feel weak."

Westwood, who has seven times finished in the top five at a major without achieving a breakthrough victory, needed to finish in the top two this week to have a chance of becoming world number one.

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Frank Pingue and Dave Thompson)