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lee westwood ryder cup

Could Lee Westwood eventually captain Europe at the Ryder Cup?

With golf’s powers looking to sign a deal, is it possible that the exiled European stalwarts are welcomed back into the fray? Lee Westwood says that won’t be up to him…

 

Lee Westwood says he has “no control” over becoming Ryder Cup captain one day.

When the DP World Tour earned the right to fine members for playing in LIV Golf events last summer, Westwood and several other European stalwarts resigned their membership.

He, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson virtually ended their Ryder Cup careers in doing so, bringing the curtain down on a generation that accumulated 33 Ryder Cup appearances between them.

But with the PGA Tour, the DP World Tour and the Public Investment Fund, LIV’s primary investors, looking to unify golf, there could soon be a world where a Westwood captaincy mightn’t be out of the question.

“It’s not a negative that everybody’s talking now,” he told NCG. “With regards to having the captaincy, I think a lot of the lads you’ve just mentioned, certainly me, our playing days in the Ryder Cup are over and quite rightly so.

“You want the youngsters coming through and they came through at the last one and proved very capable, but it’s tough to miss out on that experience in the team room, and it can feed into the young lads that are coming through now.”

The aforementioned quartet, along with Englishman Paul Casey, played at the 2021 Ryder Cup which resulted in a record-breaking 19-9 American win at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

At that stage, LIV Golf hadn’t emerged and each of these players, who all eventually took the LIV Golf jump, had strong prospects of leading Europe into battle at some point.

Needless to say, this squadron of Ryder Cup experience didn’t feature at the 2023 event which Europe won at Marco Simone.

Stenson was appointed as captain at the start of 2022 and removed three months later for moving to the Saudi-backed league, paving the way for Luke Donald to win the trophy in Rome last year.

Ryder Cup

Lee Westwood: The Ryder Cup shouldn’t be used as a ‘bargaining chip’

A significant degree of jeopardy followed these players to LIV with access to world ranking points and future involvement in the Ryder Cup two of the main issues they were, and are still, faced with.

You must be a member of the DP World Tour to represent Team Europe however you are vulnerable to hefty fines if you play in conflicting LIV events while maintaining your membership.

Westwood, a former World No.1 and winner of seven Ryder Cups, believes the tournament shouldn’t be used as a “bargaining chip” by the main tours to encourage players to stay put.

“I only like discussing stuff and thinking about stuff which I have control over, and I have no control over this,” he said.

“This is not me saying I won’t play in the Ryder Cup, or I don’t want to play in the Ryder Cup, this is other people making rules up to suit them.

“The one thing I’ll say about the Ryder Cup is the Ryder Cup should be the 12 best players in Europe vs the 12 best players in America, it should not be used as a bargaining chip by tours and by the DP World Tour, or the PGA Tour.”

“I watched a lot of it. I enjoyed it,” he added. “It’s the first time since 1995 that I’ve watched one on TV. I’ve been involved in every one since then, as either a vice-captain or playing.

“It was fun to watch on TV, it’s one of my favourite spectacles on TV, I think most fans see it that way.

“The Ryder Cup has always been a tournament that’s attracted the attention of non-golfers, it’s one of the few tournaments in golf where non-golfers tune in to watch it, which is obviously very good for the sport. It encourages more people to take up the game.”

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Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spent time with some of the biggest names in the sport.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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