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Ryder Cup: Fit Lee Westwood is great news, says Darren Clarke

By Peter Hutcheon

Lee Westwood’s return to full fitness is brilliant news for the European Ryder Cup team, says vice-captain Darren Clarke.

The Ulsterman, who forged a hugely successful partnership with Westwood in the contest against the Americans in the past, is playing with Westwood in Scotland this week in a charity event he is co-hosting with Ian Botham.

“Lee's fighting fit he says so that's great news for us,” Clarke said yesterday.

“He's our best player and we want him fit and strong for it.

“We're all relieved. The team hoped he would be there and we want him there.

“He's a seasoned Ryder Cup campaigner and it's a huge boost to the team that he's fit and ready to play.”

World number three Westwood says that if the Ryder Cup was being played this week, he would be ready after missing the last five weeks, including the year’s final Major the US PGA, with a calf injury.

Clarke is bullish about the Europeans’ chances of regaining the trophy next week, but he’s expecting a close match.

“The American guys have played better of late and it's like any Ryder Cup, whatever the bookies might say, it's always going to be pretty tight,” he said.

“It's such a fine margin, it comes down to holing a putt at the right time to getting that momentum and riding that wave.

“The guys are all experienced players in most formats but not in the Ryder Cup so you have to try to explain to them what it’s going to be like.”

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