An Interview With: LEE WESTWOOD
19 September 2006
GORDON SIMPSON: Lee, The K Club, a course you're very familiar with having won here. I suppose it gives you a nice vibe coming back to a place where you've got two titles in the Smurfit European Open.
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, especially this week. Obviously being a wild card pick, it is very nice to be back. Being on the Ryder Cup Team I've only been on it for two weeks. Like you say, I've got a lot of good memories of this place. Other than the two wins, I've played good here, Top 10s, Top 15s, and finished 2nd on the new course, so must be something to do with the water or hotel I guess.
GORDON SIMPSON: Given you are a wild card, does it give you a sense of impetus to try to go out and do something special?
LEE WESTWOOD: Obviously, both myself and Darren would like to prove Woosie right, that we are the right people for the job by serving him well this week. I think there's a little bit more pressure on us performing because we are wild cards, and, you know, not played our way in as of right and we'll be trying to do that.
GORDON SIMPSON: Okay. We'll open up to questions.
Q. Monty spoke a few minutes ago about how important that wild card pick was for him two years ago and how it rejuvenated his career. I'm not suggesting that you need your career to be rejuvenated, but I'm sure it would be to make a point, and how disappointed were you with Thomas Björn's remarks?
LEE WESTWOOD: Where do you want me to start? Obviously, you know, being picked by Woosie is a massive confidence boost, if somebody has that much faith in you and thinks you can play to a very high standard and the most intense pressure.
As far as Thomas is concerned, he rang me last week, apologised, and I think we should be talking about the 12 players that are here rather than somebody who is not.
Q. For the last few times, we all know Europe have gone in as the underdogs but it doesn't seem to be that way this time. How do the guys feel about it and does it make any difference?
LEE WESTWOOD: I think who is favourite and who is not is just an opinion of the bookmakers, I suppose. We have no opinion on who is favoured, who is the underdog. I think the team in general are playing very well. We're happy with the way the team's come together, the players that are playing, and you know, there's obviously a lot of confidence in our team as individuals and as a whole.
Q. A lot of people are excited about the fact that the Ryder Cup is being played in Ireland. How do you notice the behaviour of the Irish players on the team, are they behaving differently?
LEE WESTWOOD: Signing a lot of autographs, I'll tell you that. I played with all three of them today, and obviously they are getting a lot of support and I get a lot of support when I play in Ireland. It's nice to hear positive things coming from the crowd.
I think it will be a great venue and a great crowd for the Ryder Cup in general. I think the U.S. Team will get supported very strongly here, and so too obviously the Europeans, and it will make for a thrilling and exciting match.
Q. Just expand on that a little, it's only Tuesday but tens of thousands out there today. Can you describe just what the buzz was like in your four ball today?
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, it was incredible. We were the only match out on the golf course today, I don't know how many people were on the 18th green when we came down, we were a long way behind, signing autographs and taking our time, and there must have been at least 15,000 on the 18th hole. It was like Sunday, I suppose. It was amazing. Rarely do you see a spectacle like that.
Q. How pleased were you when Darren was the other wild card selection? Do you think he'll be able for the occasion, and do you look forward to playing with him?
LEE WESTWOOD: I was delighted when Darren got picked. He's a world class player, and we all know what's happened to him this year.
But his game is good enough, you know, to play on any team I think. He could stroll into any team. He's taking his rightful place in the Ryder Cup Team.
Q. You don't worry for him emotionally, do you?
LEE WESTWOOD: No, from what I've seen, he's right on the ball.
Q. Is he your preferred partner in the four balls/foursomes?
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, I love playing with Darren, we get on well, we play a lot together and obviously great friends. I have a lot of trust in his game. Whenever I look at him standing over the ball to putt, I always think he's going to hole it, so you can't really ask for much more in a partner than that.
Q. I know we ask this question every other year, but it's worth reflecting on again. What is it about the players on your team and this event that this event brings out the best in all of you?
LEE WESTWOOD: I give you the same answer every year you ask that question. I have no idea (laughter).
I was asked just a minute ago in the NBC interview why we won three of the last four, four of the last five, I can't remember. I think we've just holed the right putts at the right time and maybe played slightly better.
GORDON SIMPSON: Is it just a fine line, do you think?
LEE WESTWOOD: I think it's a very fine line. Match play always is. Always comes down to the last few holes. I saw Tiger interviewed and he said that there wasn't a massive even though it was a large margin of victory at the last one, there wasn't a massive difference in the teams. And they didn't win the 18th hole as often as we did, and I think that about sums it up.
Q. Just to follow up, it seems like you never have had to manufacture team spirit. Where has that always come from with your team?
LEE WESTWOOD: I don't know. Couldn't tell you. We all mix together on the Tour each week and we get to know each other very well.
Q. We all know how important the captains can be in the Ryder Cup. The American guys are talking already today about how fond they are of Tom Lehman and how they really appreciate what he's done from them and perhaps comparing with what was done for them in the past. Can you contrast Woosie, and how different is he from the other captains you've worked under?
LEE WESTWOOD: Woosie has proved to be a good captain so far and no reason to doubt that won't carry on. He seems to have all of the bases covered. Any of the questions we've had, he's had an answer and he's had some good ideas for the practise.
Obviously his record speaks for itself. He's good at motivating. You just look at him and you know that there's an experienced campaigner there who's proven himself under pressure and he's somebody to look up to and emulate, I think. That's all you can ask for from a captain, to be a leader.
GORDON SIMPSON: Okay, Lee, have a good week and enjoy.
Sunday Video Recap
Check out all the great highlights from Sunday's European victory. Watch
- 1969: Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus on the final hole of the final day.