home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


September 29, 2016

Lee Westwood

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

JOHN DEVER: Good afternoon again, and welcome back to the 41st Ryder Cup. Pleased to be joined by Mr. Lee Westwood in his, I counted, 10th Ryder Cup. You've been here and you've done all this many times. What is it about this event that essentially keeps you coming back for more and makes this a target for you every second year?

LEE WESTWOOD: Just the pride, I think, to represent Europe and the other 11 players on the team and the captain and our Tour, The European Tour, to stick the sweater on and tee it up and represent Europe.

It's a great stage to play golf on. It's a great atmosphere out there. It's an atmosphere like no other tournament in the world.

JOHN DEVER: So you have a fantastic personal Ryder Cup record, but you must also have a lot of pride in seeing so much talent in Europe come through your time with the team, but especially this year, six new rookies; is that something you've noticed and think is in a good place for Ryder Cup Europe's future?

LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, they are certainly not rookies like I was a rookie when I teed it up in '97 with Faldo. 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 States and regularly on the big stage and performed well. So 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 '97. They seem a lot more worldly and knowledgeable.

Q. You've been playing with Danny Willett. Can you talk about how he's coped given the pressure that's been put on him in the last 24 hours?
LEE WESTWOOD: He seems to be handling it fairly well. You know, it's a tricky situation that he's been put in, one that I'm sure he didn't want to be placed in. But you know, things don't always run smoothly. He seems to be handling it fairly well.

It's not his opinion, so it's not really anything to do with him. He should be left to just play golf. That's what the Ryder Cup's about, 12 players teeing it up playing a golf match against each other. Not all this other stuff that you write and people say and stuff like that. It's not in the spirit of it.

You know, Samuel Ryder, just read his idea on it and we'll all just stick to that, I think.

Q. You've obviously been in a lot of these. Can you describe the feeling on the first tee, what it's like, and if you have any kind of memory, whether it's your first shot that you hit off the first tee, a horrific shot you hit or anything like that? How different is that vibe?
LEE WESTWOOD: Well, luckily there's not really been a horrific one. But yeah, I first teed it up in '97 with Faldo, so that made things a lot easier, knowing that I've got a multiple Ryder Cup partner and multiple Major winner. And also we were playing Freddie and Brad Faxon, and they obviously were the away team and they teed it up first. And I watched them put the tee in the ground and try and get their ball on the tee and they were shaking like a leaf. So I thought, wow, if they are nervous, then it's perfectly natural that I'm going to be nervous, as well.

I mean, you get on the first tee and it's an incredible atmosphere and you try and soak it all up and enjoy it, and tee it up and smack it down the middle. And once that's done, then off you go.

Q. You obviously know Darren so well. What's it been like so far to have him in that captain's role; does it surprise you in any way? How do you feel about him having that post?
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, surprised he's so calm and sensible about everything. I've not seen this side to him before. He's doing a great job. You know, he's very thorough, very professional, very calm, like I said, calculated, everything you'd want from a captain. Not making any rash decisions, not making any comments that you think, oohh, that's a bit -- no, he's playing the game well.

Q. And does the fact that you know each other so well, does that give this one some extra meaning for you to play under him as a captain?
LEE WESTWOOD: No, I've always tried 110 percent in every Ryder Cup for every captain I've played under. I won't be trying any more or any less because it's Darren. I always give it my all. Obviously it would be really special to see Darren lift the trophy on Sunday night, because he's a very close friend. But I won't be trying any harder than I normally do. I normally pretty much give it my all.

Q. It's no secret, Ryder Cups are a little rowdier in the gallery and things. Is there something about that that has always appealed to you? You seem to do well in those situations. And what's it like to have kind of fans at your throat a little bit and what about that do you maybe enjoy or revel in?
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, I love the atmosphere out there. I like the rowdiness of it all.

I was talking to my caddie, Billy. We were on the range and there was music playing and all that, and that's what golf should be about nowadays, I think. I think it needs to jazz itself up a bit and get a bit more atmosphere in there.

Certainly wouldn't worry about a phone going off with the music blaring out, would you, and stuff like that. Yeah, it's a brilliant atmosphere to play under, and it's great to come over here and sense the partisanship. It's only right that the crowds over here are more pro U.S.A. You would want it that way. That's why when we do come over and win, like we did in Chicago, you know, it's even more special.

So yeah, I love the atmosphere out there. I think it's brilliant.

Q. It's probably one thing to prepare rookies for the nerves that come with playing in a Ryder Cup, but how do you prepare them for the hype, the drama and the controversies that always seem to emerge this week?
LEE WESTWOOD: I don't know if you can ever prepare people for that. You can give them an idea of what's about to come, but you're never quite ready for The Ryder Cup. Now, how big it's got over the years, it just seems to have grown immeasurably since I played in '97. 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. You know, our rookies have been very successful and pretty much ready to play when they have been asked to over the years.

Q. If you get paired with Danny tomorrow morning, will that make your job more difficult after what's happened?
LEE WESTWOOD: I'm not allowed to talk about pairings, sorry.

Q. As a winner of all the games you've played with Darren, what's your favorite memory, which match?
LEE WESTWOOD: We've had some crackers. I guess being 3-down early against Tiger and Phil Mickelson in Detroit and coming back and beating them on the last was pretty special. That would be the highlight for me probably.

Q. I'm sure you'll say rightly that the team result is the only thing that matters this week, but how much are the points records that you could achieve, matching or beating Nick's record, how much is that on your mind?
LEE WESTWOOD: Well, 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. That's what drives us all on, you know, 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.

Q. We talked a lot about six rookies, but are you keeping a special eye on Matthew? He's the youngest by a number of years, and also, less than two years ago, he was actually coming through Qualifying School. Is that a special eye that you've got on him?
LEE WESTWOOD: I think we're all putting an arm around Matthew and all the rookies, because we're a team and we're in it together. Obviously there's a little bit more responsibility on the players that have played a bit more. And myself coming from a part of England near where Matt comes from and having played with Matt quite a bit; and I've obviously played with Danny quite a bit; all three of us are a member of Lindrick Golf Club, the same golf club. So I keep an eye on them.

But altogether as a team, you know, everybody is looking; everybody has got each other's back and is looking after each other.

Q. Can you follow-up, does tomorrow, does Hazeltine just become another golf course on U.S.A. soil, and do you feel that first day, is there a home-course advantage, whether you're playing over at Valderrama or you're playing at a place like this?
LEE WESTWOOD: No, every two years, it's 12 players coming together playing a golf course that's got 18 holes. You know, it's irrelevant where the 18 holes is. Nobody can affect the result other than the players.

And yeah, tomorrow morning, the first hole at Hazeltine could be the first hole at anywhere. The idea is to hit the fairway, hit the green, hole the putt. But there is nobody from the outside, nothing can affect what happens to the golf ball other than the four players involved in each match.

Q. I would like to know, you're younger than Darren Clarke and you're older than Henrik Stenson; what is your role between those two, and will you share your experience with your younger members?
LEE WESTWOOD: Sorry, you're going to have to say it again. There's a lot of noise.

Q. So you are younger than Darren Clarke and you are older than Henrik Stenson. What is your role between those two, and would you share your experience with your younger members who are born in the 1980s, even 1990s, your experience, with them?
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, I am younger than Darren, yeah, and older than Henrik. I'm not really sure what your question is there. You know, they are both experienced Ryder Cup players and both major champions. So I don't really have to do too much with Henrik or Darren. They know the ropes pretty well.

And like I said, you know, all the experienced players, just trying to help the inexperienced players as much as they can, and make them ready to tee it up when they need to when their turn comes.

Q. The Americans are clearly trying to replicate a lot of what Europe have done to come up with a winning formula. Do you think that can be achieved overnight, or is it a matter of time that's needed for that to happen?
LEE WESTWOOD: Sorry, I don't know where I was looking then.

It's very flattering to Team Europe that the U.S.A. have put this task force together and are trying to replicate what we've done. It means we are successful and we are doing it right.

You know, we take a lot of pride in that; that the U.S.A. are taking it so seriously to bring this task force together and bring Davis in as captain again. You know, we take a lot of pride in that. Gives us a lot of confidence and puts added pressure on them. You form a task force and it doesn't go right this week, where you go from there? You've done pretty much all you can do. So we'll see how that goes.

Q. Along those lines, each competition starts anew 0-0, but with Europe on the 8-2 run, how big a psychological advantage is that and how much confidence does that fill your team with?
LEE WESTWOOD: It fills us with a lot of confidence. A lot of the players on the European side have had multiple experiences of winning Ryder Cups. And on the other side of that, on the U.S. Team, a lot of their players have had multiple experiences of losing Ryder Cups. Winning is a habit and a lot of the players on The European Team have that habit and know what the experience is like and what to do.

JOHN DEVER: That's Lee Westwood, and we thank him for his time and please enjoy your 10th Ryder Cup.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297