Golf

Lee Westwood does not feel need to justify captaincy

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Lee Westwood has said he is under no pressure to justify his place in the Ryder Cup side and is looking forward to the week ahead at Gleneagles.

The 41-year-old was one of Team Europe captain Paul McGinley’s three picks alongside Ian Poulter and Stephen Gallacher.

Former world number one Westwood, on his official Facebook page said: "It's nice to be here, I don't feel I have to justify my captain's pick. Paul (McGinley) has obviously picked me for a reason and I feel I can slot in to the team."

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Expectation on Europe

Having won the previous two events the expectation is well an truly on Europe. The bookies have them as clear favourites and is clear to see why, they boat four players from the top 10 in the World Rankings, including number one, Rory McIlroy.

With the pre tournament events beginning in Scotland today, the morning four balls kick off at 7.35 on Friday morning and Westwood is excited about his teams chances at this years event.

The three-time European Golfer of the Year said: "I feel we have a strong team and I'm looking forward to the week and showing how well we can play as a team.

"Everyone is pumped and ready to go. Even the rookies are ready for it. I don't think they'll feel any nerves. Once they get the practice rounds under their belts, it will feel like any other tournament."

There are three rookies for Team Europe this year as Gallacher, Victor Dubuisson and Jamie Donaldson make their bow and they will be looking to the experience of Westwood who, behind Phil Mickleson who makes his tenth appearance for Team USA, is the most experienced player of the 24 as he makes his ninth appearance in golf premier team event.

Experience counts

Having been on the winning side on six of his previous eight Ryder Cup weekends, including two victories over the Atlantic, Westwood will be hoping to claim his seventh title with Europe.

Since making his debut at Valderrama in 1997, the Malaysian Open winner has played 37 rounds for the team in blue. He has won 18, lost 13 and halved six, picking up a total of 21 points.

Having not lost in day one four balls since his debut tournament Westwood will be hoping to help Europe get off to a good start in his favourite series. He has played 14 rounds of four balls, winning 8, halving 2 and losing just four.

Westwood, who was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2011, is the lowest ranked player in the tournament as he currently sits in 44th, but was picked by captain McGinley, ahead of higher ranked players Luke Donald, Joost Luiten and Miguel Angel Jiminez, for his experience in the competition.
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Whatever is to happen over the three days in Auchterarder one thing is for sure, Lee Westwood will play a vital role in deciding where the trophy ends up.

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Topics:
Ryder Cup
Golf

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