LEE WESTWOOD is convinced that the North-East's sporting lovers will turn out in their thousands when the Betfred British Masters returns to Close House again this summer.

Westwood is looking forward to becoming the first player to host the event on two occasions when the European Tour showpiece returns to the plush complex near Newcastle from July 30 to August 2.

He is already shaping up for an impressive 2020 after winning the season’s first Rolex Series event, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA last month, to claim his 25th European Tour title.

The former World No 1 is back inside the world's top 30 and leads the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.

Westwood previously hosted the British Masters at Close House in 2017, when nearly 70,000 fans came out to support the event as European Tour visited the North-East for the first time in 15 years.

“I’m really looking forward to hosting the Betfred British Masters again,” said Westwood, who follows Tommy Fleetwood in the role.

“I had a great time hosting it in 2017. You are busy during the week and it is hard work as you haven’t just got golf to concentrate on, you have to consider other things like keeping sponsors happy and different publicity things, but it is great fun. Last time it was a successful tournament and hopefully it will be again.

“I think we got it pretty much right last time. We had a great turnout. Obviously it is earlier in the year this time so hopefully the weather will be better in July/August time. We’ve also made a few alterations to the golf course, so hopefully that will be even better, and hopefully the North East people will turn out as they always do.

“I’m sure it will be well supported again and there will be another great atmosphere. Whether it is the football team or the Great North Run, they always come out in their droves up there. It makes a massive difference if there are a lot of people there creating an atmosphere.”

Westwood finished tied 15th when the British Masters first appeared at Close House and after his strong start to the season, Close House’s Tour pro is targeting a second Masters title following his first victory at The Belfry in 2007.

He said: “Winning in Abu Dhabi was great. I didn’t really know what to expect going into the week. I hadn’t really practised that much but I got my game together and pretty sharp very quickly. I played well and controlled my emotions well and felt comfortable on the golf course and started holing some putts. It was nice to be out there relaxed with things going my way.

“My name is on the British Masters trophy once already so it would be nice to add another one, especially with it being at Close House, which is a home tournament for me. I’m looking forward to it very much and I’ll be trying to play well that week and get some of that home support behind me.”

Westwood has paid tribute to the role of the venue’s owner Graham Wylie, not only for the helping the event to head back to the area, but also for his wider contribution to the region after he received a Knighthood in the New Year’s Honour’s list.

“Graham’s Knighthood was very well deserved,” said Westwood. “He does an incredible amount for charity and people in the North-East, in Newcastle and the surrounding areas. It was great that he was knighted. It’s a bit strange calling him Sir Graham now but I’m getting used to it!”

Tickets for the Betfred British Masters are available at eventbrite and Close House websites click here