He might have been the most contentious of Paul McGinley’s three wild cards but Lee Westwood insists that he’s under no extra pressure to deliver the goods at Gleneagles this week.
The Englishman, 41, got the nod to make his ninth appearance in the blue and yellow of Europe despite what he admits has been an ‘inconsistent’ season. The former world No.1 managed one win, the Maybank Malaysian Open in April, but missed the cut in the US Open and Open, slipped out of the world’s top 40, and ultimately finished well outside of the nine automatic qualifying spots for this year’s match.
Amongst those ahead of him in the standings were fellow former world No.1 Luke Donald, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Francesco Molinari. Even so, captain McGinley clearly saw merit in adding Westwood to his side, making him one of his three picks earlier this month.
That has led made to suggest that the Englishman owes his skipper some big performances to repay his faith. He, however, doesn’t see it that way.
“You don’t need any extra motivation when it comes to the Ryder Cup,” said Lee Westwood, who has a Ryder Cup record of 18 wins, 13 defeats and six halves from his 37 matches to date. “It’s a special week and everyone is up for it.
“You wouldn’t want any extra motivation or else you would just bubble over in a frenzy. It’s nice to be here and I don’t feel in any way trying to justify a pick. Paul obviously chose me for a reason. He sees a slot for me in the team and that’s why I’m here.
“Paul has confidence in me and I’m looking forward to getting some points on the board and, hopefully, being part of a seventh winning side.”
“It’s a special week and everyone is up for it." - Lee Westwood
Westwood also played down Europe’s ‘favourites’ tag and insisted that, contrary to what some have suggested, a third consecutive win for the players representing this side of the Atlantic is far from a foregone conclusion.
“The teams look pretty evenly matched to me,” he said. “I suppose we’re slight favourite because we’re a t home but, as far as looking at the two line-ups on paper goes, player for player, it’s pretty evenly matched.
“The US guys are trying to play the underdog role but I don’t see that working. Ultimately, winning is just a case of holing putts at the right time and getting momentum and running with it. That’s what happened at Medinah . They had the momentum to start with, we managed to wrestle it back on the Saturday afternoon, and then carried that into Sunday. Then, we made the right putts at the right time.”
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Lee Westwood: Is he under extra pressure this week?
He insists he’s under no extra pressure to deliver the points at Gleneagles but do you think Lee Westwood owes Paul McGinley some big performances this week? Leave your thoughts in our ‘Comments’ section below.