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September 27, 2006

Lee Westwood


GORDON SIMPSON: Well, Lee, a little bit of a sweat to get here, but you finally made it. You're in the field. Are you ready to do yourself justice do you feel?

LEE WESTWOOD: Not really.

GORDON SIMPSON: Beyond that?

LEE WESTWOOD: I'm still a bit under the weather, a bit of a chest infection, and just feeling quite run down, really. It's quite tough playing five matches, although I've done it every time, all five Ryder Cups.

Yeah, but it does wear you down. I'm just getting old.

GORDON SIMPSON: There can't be many players that have done that, never sat out one session.

LEE WESTWOOD: No, I guess not. It's quite a stat. I wonder if anyone has ever gone two consecutive Ryder Cups without defeat.

GORDON SIMPSON: Something to look at.

Q. We were looking at Sergio going nine without, and you've gone ten.

GORDON SIMPSON: Let's move on. Let's talk about this week. Have you played here before?

LEE WESTWOOD: No, I was here two weeks ago for a company day. My sponsor, Modis, are based near here, and they like bringing their clients here, so I've done quite a few company days for them.

Q. It was a bit of a revolving door, wasn't it, to get in here?

LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, well, I was quite safe early before the Sunday I was 47th and then all of a sudden four people went past me, which rarely happens. It was just I had a lot of points to lose that particular week. And then other people were going to lose them the week after.

I figured out if Shaun Micheel didn't finish 1st or 2nd in Texas and Tom Pernice didn't win, I'd get back in the top 50. I got it all figured out.

Q. Had you made other plans for this week?

LEE WESTWOOD: I hadn't, no.

Q. At what point did you find out that you were actually in, Sunday night?

LEE WESTWOOD: No, Monday morning, when the new rankings came out, same time as you.

Q. Did you get out of the sick bed and come down again?

LEE WESTWOOD: I've come down this morning, yeah.

Q. You were sick earlier in the month. Is this just a continuation, or did you have a week when you felt a bit better?

LEE WESTWOOD: Well, I got tonsillitis, and instead of laying in bed I thought I'd go to Singapore.

Q. Precisely, that's what I mean.

LEE WESTWOOD: I've hardly given myself time to recover, really, and the week before that when I got tonsillitis I tried to qualify for the Ryder Cup team at the BMW, no stress and pressure there.

GORDON SIMPSON: Is this something that happens when you push yourself regularly?

LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, that seems to be the first place it affects me, then I get run down at certain times with lots of travel. Just a hectic schedule. I've look to look at in the future.

Q. Are you looking at dunhill next week, too?

LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, and then I'm looking forward to two weeks after, doing nothing, really.

Q. One of your teammates always said you're a hypochondriac.

LEE WESTWOOD: That would be the big fat non Irishman, wouldn't it, with the highlights, covering up the grey? (Laughter)

Q. It does seem the case that you're able to play pretty well through the trauma.

LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, it doesn't really bother me. You've always got an excuse if you don't play very well.

Q. How have you found the week after Ryder Cups before?

LEE WESTWOOD: (Coughing) I've generally played, I think, but not played very well. I've always been a bit tired.

So, we'll see this week. I certainly didn't feel like hitting any balls on Monday afternoon when I got home or yesterday, and today I'm still tired. I'm sure it's the same thing everybody is going through. Mentally it's quite tricky, as well, to switch off. Although this morning getting up, the Ryder Cup did seem a long time ago.

GORDON SIMPSON: Was it quite helpful, it's actually a really big event with all the same people taking part. It's not just a middle of the road tournament.

LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, it obviously makes a big difference that it's just a small field and no cut and a world championship event. I suppose if it was a regular tournament, I probably wouldn't be here.

Q. What do you think of your chances of playing well when you don't really feel up for it?

LEE WESTWOOD: Well, I don't feel physically very well. Mentally I feel a bit

Q. So let's guess on a score for you. What would you expect you to do tomorrow?

LEE WESTWOOD: Are you trying to get me to top my odds up? I don't know.

Q. Will it all depend on if you start with a good hole

LEE WESTWOOD: Could do. It depends how I feel in the morning. Right now I don't feel very well, so we'll see in the morning.

Q. But how do you like to be feeling going into a tournament like this?

LEE WESTWOOD: Better than this, yeah.

Q. On a scale of 1 to 10, Lee, if you were five now, what were you at the start of Ryder Cup, well wise?

LEE WESTWOOD: I was fine at the start of the Ryder Cup. Darren has given it to me, kissing him all the time with all the putts and chips. I told him not to do it. He saw I've got a cold, but it didn't put him off at all (laughter).

Q. Firestone might be a little bit different on your end because it's coming into the final qualifying for the Ryder Cup, but I'm just curious, your thoughts on having these world championships the week after such a big deal, like the PGA Championship. Would it be better off if they were kind of a little more isolated?

LEE WESTWOOD: Certainly seems like a strange time off them to me. There's so many months in the golfing calendar now and so many options as far as where you can hold them with regards to the weather around the world that they must be surely able to spread it out, play the four majors in one month and TPC another month and then the world championships in another month; so you've got one big event every four weeks. It doesn't make any sense to me to be playing.

Q. I don't know how often you've played Hilton Head. Have you done that quite a bit before?


Q. Is there any kind of feeling here that there might be there in that there's such a huge buildup to the Masters? I've always heard Hilton Head is like a working vacation.

LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, similar feeling. Any time after something you've really built yourself up for, it's always difficult to get up the next week.

Q. Would it also be better if it weren't all in the States? By that I mean, we're here just now, and you've just beaten America again. We heard yesterday that

LEE WESTWOOD: And the next one is in Barbados and they've just announced two in China. Where are you going with this one? (Laughing.)

Q. There's not going to be one in Europe until 2010, earliest. Do you feel any sense of injustice in that?

LEE WESTWOOD: No, not really. It's a worldwide game now, spread it around. I'd like to see obviously them take one to Asia. It was a good one down in Australia but it was a crap day over New Year's Eve, which gave a false impression that the players weren't bothered about going down there. It's just the fact that you've got to have some time off. I think they almost used it as an excuse to create a false impression of that world championship.

But, you know, I think the American market is a massive market, as well.

So they've got to play I suppose the majority of them over there. That's where most of the big sponsors want their names out.

Q. I was thinking with the great British and Irish fans, as well.

LEE WESTWOOD: I think they had a pretty good time last week.

Q. I'm sure they'd like a few more good times.

LEE WESTWOOD: We've got this here this week.

Q. But if you took the next three years, for instance, there won't be any here at all, two World Cups. Otherwise everything is in America. That's a hell of a lot of commuting to go to work for you, even if you take the money out of it. Will you look at your schedule?

LEE WESTWOOD: No, not really. I don't even know where they are, to be honest. You've probably got that. I don't know where I'm playing at the end of this year, never mind the year after.

Q. You've got three majors

LEE WESTWOOD: I know the three majors.

Q. Three of these, all the stroke play events, plus the other two

LEE WESTWOOD: You don't have to play them, though, do you? You don't have to play the world championship events. We were all generally going to them because there was no cut and the money was so much dramatically bigger than anywhere else. But now all the other money is coming in line. If you don't want to play the match play, you don't have to go there and play it.

Q. So you're not going to the Match Play next year?

LEE WESTWOOD: I didn't say that, I'm just speaking (smiling).

Q. Sunday night did you feel as satisfied as you've ever felt in your career going as a wildcard and beating them?

LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, it was nice to take the pressure off Woosie and prove that he made two good picks. It's very difficult to say. If they would have picked somebody else, maybe they would have got five points, you never know.

But I think seven points out of a possible eight from his two wildcards was a pretty good return on a gamble. I think most captains would take that.

I think Tom's picks played out pretty well, as well, if you're looking at his picks. They did well.

Q. Was there more pressure on you going into the tournament as a wildcard?

LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, far more, definitely. And when people start arguing that maybe you shouldn't be a wildcard, that increases the pressure.

It seemed to build up the closer the Ryder Cup got.

Q. Have you seen Thomas Björn?

LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, he gave me a nice hug on the range early on. He's probably got the flu now (laughter).

Q. Did the end of this Ryder Cup feel better than the others that you've had, the other victories you've had?

LEE WESTWOOD: No, when you win they all feel great. Obviously it was nice to win by a large margin again in front of a home crowd. But no, they're all very special when you win.

Q. In quiet moments before it, did you think you could repeat that large margin?

LEE WESTWOOD: (Sighing) I think we've got a very strong side, but I didn't think we were going to win by a big a margin as we did win by. But it's like any sport. If you get confidence and get on a roll and get the momentum going, it's very difficult to turn it around for the other team, and that's what we did on Sunday morning, for sure. Everything in the early part of the holes seemed to go our way, and then all of a sudden there was a sort of flood of blue from sort of Match 6 downwards. I think it was down after that where it just went blue all the way down.

Q. I don't think anyone would argue that the European side was stronger, but does the margin of victory the last two times out signal anything wrong with American golf that you see?

LEE WESTWOOD: I think there's an obvious problem with the qualification system as far as your Ryder Cup team is concerned. Not getting any points for 11th place in a tournament makes no sense to me whatsoever. You know, you'd have to look at that.

Q. We've already asked them but they don't listen to us.

LEE WESTWOOD: Neither would I. (Laughing). You can sort that out. But also the college system might have something to do with it.

Q. College system.

LEE WESTWOOD: Well, you know, they get used to playing stroke play all the time, don't they, and playing a certain type of golf course. You have a look at the really top American players, they tend to travel the world a bit and all they have I don't know how to explain it, kind of a worldly kind of game like Jim Furyk, who manufactures the shots, and he's got different shots in his locker. And Phil has got lots of different shots, although he didn't have a great week last week. He's still one of the best players in the world. And Tiger does that, as well.

But you tend to find the players that play the U.S. Tour all the time only have one shot; so when you do get on a different course like last week when there was a bit of wind involved, you don't seem used to and comfortable hitting little knock down shots and stuff like that, where we as Europeans have grown up with it.

Q. Do you think personality wise, they also play all those from one country; whereas, you've got four different countries with four different personalities, five different countries gelling with each other and winding each other up.

LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, we were winding each other up all week, for sure. There was a lot of banter. The Swedes were getting involved and the Spaniards were getting involved. It was good craic in the team room.

Q. As opposed to one nation where you're all the same, as such?

LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, with one sense of humour, yeah, for sure. What's funny about that? (Laughter)

Q. Are you aware that your party afterwards kept Tim Finchem up until 6:00 a.m.?

LEE WESTWOOD: I wasn't aware of that. It wasn't my party. I went to bed for an hour at 8:45, let me tell you.

Q. In the morning?

LEE WESTWOOD: No, at night, Sunday night. Somebody rang me, and I was snoozing because I was feeling so dreadful, and I came downstairs, and I thought, I'll only have a couple of hot totties, and it ended up being about five, but that's all I had on Sunday night. It's the most sober I've ever been on Monday morning after Ryder Cup.

Q. Who was causing all the noise?

LEE WESTWOOD: I think it was coming from the Americans. They were having a farewell party when we went around to their room. The karaoke machine was booked up. You couldn't get on that. The table tennis table was booked from the Woodses and the Mickelsons.

Q. Were they cooking the tortillas?

LEE WESTWOOD: I don't think anybody was focusing on food at that time (laughter).

GORDON SIMPSON: Lee, despite how you're feeling, have a good week.

End of FastScripts.

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