WESTIE EYES FALDO RYDER CUP RECORD
Englishman needs just 2.5 points to become Europe’s most successful player
When Lee Westwood made his Ryder Cup debut back in 1997 at Valderrama he could never have imagined that nearly two decades later he would have the chance to set a new points record for Europe.
On his debut appearance it was Nick Faldo leading by example as he set a new record of 25 points from his 11 Ryder Cup appearances.
Westwood had also impressed, so much so that Faldo sent him a photo of the pair with a personalised message saying: “Thanks for helping me beat the record.”
Now Westwood has the chance to bring his career full circle at Hazeltine, where the 43-year-old will be the senior figure looking to inspire a new young and hungry generation of European golfers.
He also has the chance to overtake Faldo and become Europe’s all-time leading points scorer.
“If it happens, perhaps I’ll take the photo down off the wall, sign it and send it back to him,” joked Westwood. “Obviously, you have to concentrate on the team and each match rather than get ahead of yourself, but the record is in the back of my mind.
“I couldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams that I’d go past Seve’s [Ballesteros] mark and have the chance to catch Nick.
“It would be a massive achievement. These are players I grew up watching, Ryder Cup legends. To be in their category, what can I say? It just means a lot.”
A veteran of the European team, Westwood also revealed a little glimpse into the mind games that he likes to play with the opposition.
He has already stirred the pot by suggesting the inclusion of Tiger Woods in the US team as a vicecaptain could have an adverse effect on the team.
Now Westwood has revealed why in every match he has played he is nearly always the last player to make it to the first tee.
“I like to look around at who we’re playing, study them and sometimes you can see they’re a bit nervous,” he explained. “When you’re nervous you go to the first tee a little early and I’m thinking: ‘No, I’m not going yet.’ You can wait.”
The Ryder Cups begins on Friday.