• Westwood determined to seal Ryder Cup spot
• Englishman is bidding to play in his tenth match
• "I just want to be in form should I get picked"
Lee Westwood admits that he still has plenty of work to do to earn his place on Europe’s Ryder Cup team.
The Englishman is bidding to make his tenth appearance in the biennial match at Hazeltine this year but currently sits just outside the nine automatic spots with just over two weeks until qualification ends.
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Consequently, he has made the trip to Prague for this week’s Czech Masters in a bid to sew up his place or, at the very worst, prove to his old pal, European captain Darren Clarke, that he is worthy of one of his three wild cards.
“I've had lots of conversations with Darren and he said at the start of the year, ‘Show me some form’,” said Westwood. “I've played pretty well over the year. Second in the Masters, a few other top tens, played well in the majors, played pretty good at the US Open, so I just want to try and keep playing well and be in form should I get picked for the Ryder Cup.”
"If you look at the balance of the team, there are a lot of rookies" - Lee Westwood
Westwood has been one of the mainstays of Europe’s recent Ryder Cup dominance, playing in every match since the victory at Valderrama in 1997, pictured below. He also has a highly respectable record, winning 23 points from a possible 41 – a competitive return over such a long period and in the pressured environment of the Ryder Cup.
Consequently, he believes he still has plenty to offer, particularly given how ‘rookie heavy’ the European side is shaping up to be. Indeed, at the time of writing, five of the nine automatic qualifying spaces are occupied by would-be debutants: Danny Willett, pictured below with Westwood, Chris Wood and Rafa Cabrera-Bello, as well as Andy Sullivan and Matt Fitzpatrick.
“If you look at the balance of the team, there are a lot of rookies,” said Westwood. “It's difficult if you're playing on home soil with that many rookies but going and playing in the States is even harder. It's a tough atmosphere to play in and it's always nice if you've got a few people on the team with a bit of experience.”
"The Ryder Cup is still a few weeks down the road; this is right here, right now" - Lee Westwood
Whether one of those proves to be the European Tour’s leading career money winner remains to be seen. First things first, Westwood says he is concentrating solely on putting in a big performance in the Czech Republic.
Read more -> Clarke piles pressure on Team USA
“All the players are here to try and win the Czech Masters,” he added. “If you do that, everything else takes care of itself. The Ryder Cup is still a few weeks down the road. This is right here, right now. We need to be focusing on this week.”
Lee Westwood: Would you pick him?
Assuming he doesn’t make the team automatically, would you give Lee Westwood one of your picks if you were European captain Darren Clarke? Leave your thoughts in our ‘Comments’ section below.