Lee Westwood: Tiger Woods got me to Ryder Cup
Lee Westwood has said that it was Tiger Woods' advice that persuaded him to take a six-week break and get himself in what he calls “100 percent shape for the Ryder Cup”.
“I played with Tiger in the first two rounds of the Bridgestone [Invitational] back at the start of the August and I was struggling with my ruptured calf muscle,” the Europe star said.
“Tiger saw me battling on and said to me, ‘God you're stubborn. What are you doing?'
“What he said resonated with me and I thought maybe I should look at this a bit more sensibly, withdraw from that event and the following week's USPGA and do the rehab properly.
“Tiger's right, I am stubborn and if I'd carried on playing I probably wouldn't be at Celtic Manor.”
That he will be is a huge relief to his captain Colin Montgomerie in the run-up to the big showdown, which starts on Friday.
“It was dodgy for a while and that was why I was so pleased when I had the text off Lee two weeks ago saying, ‘don't worry, I'm ready'. He brings a consistency to the team that the others can rely on,” said Montgomerie. “From a captain's point of view to have that sort of player you can rely on is absolutely vital.”
Nevertheless, Montgomerie is prepared to let down Westwood, who has stated his desire to play in every session.
“I think Lee possibly won't play five matches,” he said.
In fact, Montgomerie is considering taking the unprecedented step of resting all his players in at least one of the sessions. Yesterday, Thomas Bjorn, his vice-captain, explained the rationale.
“We want our players to be fresh on Sunday,” said the Dane. “I think this is the best team Europe have ever had in terms of strength in depth and for that reason there might be no need to exhaust anyone and play them five times.”
Bjorn accompanied Montgomerie on a tour of Celtic Manor on Saturday and said: “It is definitely the best site I've ever seen in golf.
"The viewing facilities are amazing and the course is in the best condition I've ever seen a course in Europe," he said. "But the rough is very severe."
That last sentence will not be sweet music to the Americans.