It’s some testament to Lee Westwood that he was still being asked about his chances of making an 11th straight appearance in a Ryder Cup in the final counting event in Denmark.
Westwood made his debut at Valderrama in 1997, playing alongside Nick Faldo and under Seve Ballesteros, and he took to it like the proverbial duck to water. In the next 19 years we all grew to know and love the trademark Westwood fist pump as the putts dropped and the points came rolling in.
The first time he missed any match was not until 2008 when his original playing partner from Spain rested him.
In 2004 he top-scored along with Sergio Garcia, contributing 4.5 points at Oakland Hills. In 2006 he and Darren Clarke were Ian Woosnam’s wildcards. Just the previous month Clarke’s wife Heather had died from secondary breast cancer but Clarke, with his trusted wing man Westwood by his side, won all three of his matches while Westwood was unbeaten in all five.
The Englishman’s career has intertwined with Europe’s run of success in the matches – Westwood played on 10 teams and was victorious on seven occasions.
It’s been a remarkable affiliation with the competition and one which will continue in the coming years. He will be one of Thomas Bjorn’s vice-captains in France and the chances are he will be captaining Europe himself in the not-too-distant future.
Watch the full interview in the video above or head to the next page if you’d prefer to read what Westwood had to say…