Darren Clarke keen for Lee Westwood to clinch Ryder Cup qualification
Darren Clarke is determined to have Lee Westwood on his Ryder Cup team next year, but he wants his good friend to qualify outright and not rely on a captain's pick.
Westwood has endured a poor run of results and has not posted a top-10 finish since March, although Ulsterman Clarke feels his form has been better than his scoring would suggest.
The European skipper is keen to have a man of Westwood's experience on board for the contest at Hazeltine next September, but he wants to avoid the awkward situation of having to consider his long-time friend for a wild card selection.
"Lee's stats of late are seriously impressive," Clarke said. "You may not think that from the way he's been scoring, but the stats are actually very good. He's still in the top echelon of European players right now.
"Of course Lee and I have been friends for many years, and our record together in the Ryder Cup was second only to Jose Maria Olazabal and Seve (Ballesteros).
"I think he'll have a great chance of qualifying. If he doesn't, it won't be a pick for an old pal - that's not the way it works.
"But with someone like Lee who has vast experience, I'd be foolish not to want him on my team."