Team
Lee Westwood
Team

Europe

It's all about the team for Westwood

Lee Westwood could send records tumbling at Hazeltine National but would happily endure a poor week personally if Europe win a fourth consecutive Ryder Cup.

The Englishman tees it up in his tenth Ryder Cup to join Christy O' Connor Sr and Bernhard Langer in double figures, just one appearance behind Sir Nick Faldo's record total.

He will have to wait two more years at least to match Faldo on that front but playing in every session in Minnesota would see him join the six-time Major winner on 46 matches, while winning 2½ points would see him surpass Faldo as Europe's all-time top scorer.

The 43 year old will bring some experience to a team room that contains six rookies but he would be perfectly happy to let one of his younger team-mates take the plaudits as long as he got his hands on the trophy for an eighth time.

"I'd be lying if I didn't say I wanted to get past Nick's record, because anybody involved in sport wants to break records," he said. "That's what drives us all on, to be able to say you're the best at anything.

"But if you give me a choice of not winning any points and the Europeans winning The Ryder Cup then that would definitely come first before getting in front of Nick's record or getting near it. It's all about the team this week."

A former World Number One, Westwood has three European Tour top tens this season - including a tie for second at the Masters Tournament - but Captain Darren Clarke admitted his experience as well as his form was a factor in handing Westwood a Captain's pick.

The 23-time European Tour winner does not believe having six rookies on the team will have any negative effect on Europe, especially when two of those are the Masters and BMW PGA Championship winners.

"They are certainly not rookies like I was a rookie when I teed it up in 1997 with Faldo," he said. "I hadn't played that much in the States and that much in the big tournaments around the world.

"These rookies nowadays, they are Major champions and they are players that have played regularly in the United States and regularly on the big stage and performed well.

"Yes, this is their first Ryder Cup, but they are not anywhere near the same kind of rookie that I was when I teed it up in 1997. They seem a lot more worldly and knowledgeable.

"It just seems to have grown immeasurably since I played in 1997. That's why you need a mix of rookies and veterans, if you want to call us that.

"You try and sort of bleed them into it gently. Our rookies have been very successful and pretty much ready to play when they have been asked to over the years."

Green Jacket winner Danny Willett is one of those Ryder Cup first-timers this week and he believes Westwood's experience could be invaluable.

"This is his tenth Ryder Cup," he said. "He's not far off tying Faldo's record. To have someone like that on the team and still playing some great golf is a massive asset to Team Europe."