At 48 years young, Worksop born golfer Lee Westwood will appear in a record equalling eleventh Ryder Cup this weekend, matching the feat of fellow Englishman Sir Nick Faldo in becoming only the second European player ever to reach the milestone.
After missing out in 2018 when Europe regained the trophy in Paris to win their fourth competition in the last five outings, Westwood will be hoping to again help his team beat the USA at the Whistling Straits Golf Club in Wisconsin and said prior to the event this week “It’s something to be very proud of, being able to pull on the clothing with the European team crest on it.”
Ahead of the 43rd tournament in Haven, Westwood is the eldest player in a team that includes fellow countrymen Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Fitzpatrick, Tyrell Hatton and Ian Poulter, as well as Spanish duo Sergio Garcia and John Rahm, the Irish (North/South) contingent of Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry, along with Norwegian Viktor Hovland and Austrian Bernd Weisberger. Westwood himself, saying “I think I get on pretty well with everybody. If somebody partners me I’m a pretty straight hitter of the ball. I hit a lot of fairways, hit a lot of greens. That’s sort of what my game has been renowned for. I do make putts when I need to, despite what people’s opinions might be.”
“I just try and make my playing partners comfortable and let them just do what they’re doing. That’s really what I learnt from playing my first one with Nick Faldo. He was there to back me up, and I knew he was always going to be there, and just let your playing partner get off and express themselves.”
The competition starts on Friday with holders Europe captained by Padraig Harrington and the United States skippered by Steve Stricker.
Whilst the American team is distinctly less experienced in terms of previous Ryder Cup appearances (12 compared to Europe’s 38) the hosts boasts more Major winners (13 compared to 7) within their ranks and an average world ranking position of nine, compared to 31 which is the average ranking of Europeans playing in the competition.
For Westwood, he will be hoping to add to his tally of 20 wins and will hope to go one better than Faldo, by becoming Europe’s all time leading player by number of matches (Faldo has played 46 to Westwood’s 44) whilst he also aims to overtake his first ever-playing partner in points scoring, Westwood has 23 compared to Faldo’s 25 and is fifth on the all time list for Europe behind team-mate Sergio Garcia (25.5), Faldo, Bernard Langar (24) and Colin Montgomerie (23.5).
Action gets underway from Friday afternoon and concludes on Sunday night.
*Main image @rydercup Lee Westwood in good spirits ahead of the Ryder Cup.