An Interview With: LEE WESTWOOD and NICHOLAS COLSAERTS
KELLY ELBIN: European Team members, Nicolas Colsaerts and Lee Westwood joining us at the 39th Ryder Cup. This afternoon in his Ryder Cup debut, Nicolas Colsaerts was 10 under on his own ball, enabling the team of Colsaerts and Westwood to defeat Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods 1 up in four balls.
First of all, congratulations on an incredible first day and comments on what went on out there.
NICOLAS COLSAERTS: I don't know what to say. You know, when you're a kid and you dream about playing in this tournament, you get a chance to go out with somebody like Lee who has a lot of experience. I felt very comfortable going out with Lee.
And you know, I was just very I was so focused and I was having my eyes, as I call it; it felt wonderful to be able to produce and deliver on such a big stage with a lot of eyes on you and this unbelievable atmosphere.
KELLY ELBIN: Thank you. Lee, you were not able to get a victory this morning with Francesco Molinari, but this afternoon but have been a special treat with this man playing so well.
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, I had the best seat in the house. It was a pleasure to watch and a joy to watch, I have to admit.
You know, you never know how people are going to react their first round at Ryder Cup and how they are going to react to The Ryder Cup. And I think he took to it quite nicely. (Laughter.)
NICOLAS COLSAERTS: (Laughing.)
LEE WESTWOOD: I didn't really have a lot to do. He brought me in to read a putt on 15 and I panicked. I wondered why he was even asking me because everything he looked at went in. I mean, why ruin it now? So it was an amazing, amazing round of golf.
I actually had a funny feeling of he was capable of it. I've played a lot with Nicolas.
KELLY ELBIN: Why did you have a funny feeling he's capable of it?
LEE WESTWOOD: Because he has the right attitude and he is a confident person and he takes big occasions well. I didn't realize he was going to take it that well.
Q. Can you tell us about your putting stroke, how you developed it or where you got it?
NICOLAS COLSAERTS: Well, I started working with Dave Stockton about close to two years ago now. And on top of being a fantastic putting teacher, he's a fantastic guy, as well. So I've had a wonderful time perfectioning (sic) my putting skills with him, and it brought me a lot of confidence, especially on those slick greens that we get to play in America.
But, you know, just don't think I'm going to putt like this every day. You know, this is more like on fire being than, you know, having a good putting stroke. But he has helped in the past couple of years, definitely.
Q. In all The Ryder Cups that you've appeared in, can you remember a better debut by a rookie European?
LEE WESTWOOD: No. I don't think there has ever been a better debut than that.
I can't imagine anybody's ever made eight birdies and an eagle in their and against somebody like Tiger, Tiger and Steve Stricker, two of the more established partnerships with a lot of experience around it's a tough golf course with a good wind blowing out there.
It was just, I can't imagine anybody's ever shown up and done anything like that before.
Q. Did Tiger Woods say anything to you? Did he express any appreciation for what you were doing?
NICOLAS COLSAERTS: No, except on 18 when somebody like Tiger Woods looks at you and goes, "Great playing, Man," you understand you've done something pretty good.
Q. Tiger said that that's one of the greatest putting rounds he's ever seen. Would you agree with that? Have you ever seen one better?
LEE WESTWOOD: No. Never. You know, I've seen Tiger putt well, but if he thinks that's the best putting round he's ever seen, then who am I to argue. No.
Q. Can you just talk about how vital that point was to The European Team, having seen the previous matches go the wrong way?
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, I mean, it was important obviously. I was saying after the match had finished, I knew how vital it was. I wasn't sure if Nicolas did. He said he was looking at the scoreboards, but there's a massive difference between getting a halve and getting a win. 5 1/2 2 1/2, or even 6 2 as it could have turned out at one point during the day, would have been disastrous.
5 3, we would have hoped for better at the start of the day, and we need a big day tomorrow; but we are still within touching distance there if we do have a good day.
So it was vital to win that match, yeah.
Q. Do you have a sense of given the fact that you were on the golf course all day, do you have a sense of what your team needs to be more effective at tomorrow in order to turn some of these things around?
LEE WESTWOOD: No. I have no idea. I was in a bit of a glaze watching Nicolas all day. Anything could have been going off on the other holes. But obviously we need to play better. That goes without saying.
And as a team, as a whole, we need to play better and hole a few more putts.
Q. I understand that this might be difficult for you to answer, but I wonder if of all of that great play, if there's one moment for you that stood out that you're most proud of.
NICOLAS COLSAERTS: What, today?
NICOLAS COLSAERTS: 17, without a doubt. When you know Tiger is going to make 2, which was obvious, either one of us was going to have to hole this; and you know, as much as I read a lot of putts very right today, I had a pretty good read on that one, too. Just all of these putts just went in the perfect pace, the right side of the hole, which, you know, is something that doesn't really happen very often.
So it was my first uncontrolled Ryder Cup reaction as all of you would have seen. So it's a pretty special moment you can be proud of I guess, yeah.
KELLY ELBIN: What was the approximate length of that putt and how did it break?
NICOLAS COLSAERTS: I guess, what was it, like 25 feet?
LEE WESTWOOD: I wasn't watching.
KELLY ELBIN: He just figured it was going to go in.
NICOLAS COLSAERTS: Yeah, it had a bit of break. Probably about, what, probably two feet, three feet; between two and three feet of break.
But yeah, probably one of the best putts I ever hit under the circumstances.
Q. How would you compare this round; would it be the best round you've ever played, or what would be the best round? Where would you put this in your
NICOLAS COLSAERTS: Under the circumstances, without a doubt. When you get to play on a stage like this and you show the world that you've got this, yeah, I mean, this has to be the best round I ever played in front of such a big stage and with everything about it, the 11 other guys I'm playing with, vital point, last game of the day, first day of Ryder Cup, my first yeah, has to be the best one.
Q. A lot was made of the crowds before; how did you find them today?
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, they were good. They were enthusiastic but fair I thought. No complaints.
KELLY ELBIN: Nicolas Colsaerts and Lee Westwood, congratulations, thank you very much.
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