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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Westwood eyeing place on Harrington’s Ryder Cup team

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Lee Westwood has set his sights on a place in European Ryder Cup Captain Padraig Harrington’s team for the 2021 tournament at Whistling Straits after claiming the 2020 Race to Dubai crown.

A season which started with a second Rolex Series victory and his 25th on the European Tour overall at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, ended with the 47-year old being named European Number One for the third time, 20 years after he first lifted the Harry Vardon Trophy. The ten-time Ryder Cup star first achieved the honour in 2000, and his victory at the 2009 DP World Tour Championship, Dubai saw him crowned the inaugural winner of the Race to Dubai, the year before he went on to reach World Number One.

Westwood was a vice captain at the 2018 renewal at Le Golf National and although no Ryder Cup points are being awarded towards the qualification process until 2021, given his play of this year, the Englishman sees no reason why his form can’t continue to make him a major player in Harrington’s plans for 2021.

“I’d love to play again, obviously,” Westwood said. “It beats watching. There’s obviously a lot less pressure watching the lads being vice captain.

“Yeah, if I qualify for the team then I’m clearly good enough, and you know, that’s the way I’m going to play it. I can still turn up to the biggest tournaments and compete as I proved at the start of the year in Abu Dhabi; the U.S. Open where I bogeyed the last two holes, and if I hadn’t, I’d have finished fifth, and here.

“So it’s definitely — I’m not going to say it’s one of my goals for next year because you should never make Ryder Cup one of your goals. You should break it down to try and play well each tournament. But I could see it happening.”

Westwood can now boast victories in the last century, the last decade and this year and not only is that evidence of his undoubted longevity, it’s also testament to his motivation and work-rate that’s rarely wavered over an incredible spell at the top of the game.

“The motivation’s never changed, really,” he said. “I get to get up each day and do the job I love. I’ve always wanted to be a golfer, and I don’t want it to end.

“So I’m prepared to keep working hard and put myself in the line of fire and try and get into contention in tournaments. It’s where I’m most comfortable and what I love doing. I love the work away from the course and the gym and on the range, the hard work that people don’t see, I love that. I don’t need to motivate myself very often.”

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