Lee Westwood interview: Team success is always the priority

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Lee Westwood has targeted selection for the 2016 Ryder Cup at the Hazeltine National Golf Course in Minnesota, after being part of the 12-man European team that convincingly defeated the Americans 16.5-11.5 at Gleneagles last weekend.

After adding two points to his Ryder Cup points record at this year's tournament, the Englishman is now just two behind the all-time leading European, and partner in his first ever competition, the legendary Nick Faldo.

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However, the man from Worksop was quick to distinguish his hopes of catching Faldo and will focus all his priority on just trying to gain a selection in two years time.

Team priority

He exclusively told GiveMeSport: "It's definitely a target to qualify, but not because Sir Nick's record will be in sight. Records are for telling the grandkids about."

Of course it would be a major honour for the 41-year-old to match Faldo's record, but he says it will be a great achievement if he is even at the next tournament, claiming it's all about his performances over the next couple of years which will determine whether he is included.

"If I'm there it means I'm playing well and deserve to be," he added.

On the brink of records

Westwood has currently scored 23 Ryder Cup points, which puts him fifth on the all-time list, alongside Arnold Palmer and 0.5 ahead of golfing great Seve Ballesteros. 

But again, he was quick to play down personal achievements, citing the atmosphere and harmony within the team is the key to them continuing to win future Ryder Cups.

"Maybe that's why we have been so successful. From one to 12, we are a team," he said.

That was evident throughout the weekend and the celebrations afterwards, partying into the early hours of the morning together. The team also claimed Paul McGinlay's captaincy was a key factor behind their victory.

All about the collective achievement

Having been a part of nine different tournaments, made up of different players each time, if anyone was to know the importance of a good team-spirit it would be Westwood. It's all well and good the singles beating their opponents to win points on the final day, but a lot of the damage can be done the two days previously in the foursomes, where the two players from each side must work together to beat their opposition.

The Brit claimed: "Individual glory does not outweigh the collective achievement when it comes to the Ryder Cup."

Golf players have the whole year to win personal achievements in tournaments and majors, but the Ryder Cup is where two teams come together and work in unison in the battle between Europe and America.

At 41, Westwood may not have too many more chances to participate in Ryder Cups, so must keep his performances consistent over the next two years, in order to be shortlisted for selection.

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