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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 September 2006, 09:29 GMT 10:29 UK
Westwood happy with Woosie's pick
Lee Westwood and Thomas Bjorn
Westwood got the K Club nod over a bitterly disappointed Bjorn
Lee Westwood has backed captain Ian Woosnam's decision to select him for the Ryder Cup, not Thomas Bjorn.

The Englishman was handed one of Woosnam's two wildcard picks despite being outperformed by Bjorn this year.

The Dane reacted furiously to the snub but has since apologised for his outburst and been fined.

"It doesn't matter whether I think I deserve it. Ian Woosnam thinks I do and he's the captain - he picks the team and he has a plan," said Westwood.

Speaking ahead of this week's Singapore Open, the 33-year-old added: "All I can say is everyone is entitled to their opinion.

I think the European team is the strongest that I have ever seen

Lee Westwood

"I think Thomas has made it quite clear what his opinion is and that's the end of the matter as far as I am concerned.

"I am just looking forward to being part of the team at the K Club."

Woosnam announced his wildcards after the BMW International in Munich on Sunday.

Westwood's friend Darren Clarke, who has been out of golf since the death of his wife Heather last month, was given the other captain's pick.

Bjorn is higher in the rankings and the Ryder Cup points table than Westwood and initially said he had "totally lost respect" for Woosnam, branding his captaincy "pathetic".

But on Tuesday, the 35-year-old issued an apology and pledged his support for Europe in the biennial competition.

Paul McGinley, who claimed the ninth automatic spot on the team, said he could understand Bjorn's disappointment.

Iain Carter
BBC golf correspondent

The Irishman, who is also playing in Singapore this week, said: "I'd be bitter and disappointed to miss out too. It must be absolutely gut-wrenching.

"It is one of the greatest sporting events in the world. Thomas is a world-class player and he will bounce back."

McGinley, another close friend of Clarke's, was also adamant that the Northern Irish star would be mentally ready for the Ryder Cup despite his recent personal loss.

"I do think Darren will be ready. He is one of the best players in the world," the Irishman said.

"There are not many tougher situations in life than what he has had to deal with and take his kids through.

"He has come out the other side and is better and stronger for it. The Ryder Cup will be a piece of cake after that."

Westwood would second McGinley's faith in Clarke's readiness for competition and both men are excited about Europe's chances of claiming a third straight victory.

While wary of the US threat, Westwood believes this year's European team is stronger than the one that eased to a huge nine-point victory in Michigan two years ago.

European Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam
Woosnam has made a mixed start to his Ryder Cup campaign

"Some have said the US team is not a strong team, but anyone who qualifies for their team is a world class player," he said.

"Having said that, I think the European team is the strongest that I have ever seen.

"There is a nice balance of youth, experience, rookies and people that have played in the Ryder Cup before and with good knowledge of the course.

"Most of the team would have played the K Club a number of times and a think we have got a great chance to win."

Westwood, who has won at the Irish course twice before, also believes his game is peaking at just the right time.

"I was playing well going into the last Ryder Cup and I am playing pretty well going into this one," he added.

"I feel that I am hitting the ball well enough and rolling it well on the greens and that had been lacking this year."

The former European number one was his team's top scorer at Oakland Hills in 2004 with four and a half points out of five.

The 36th Ryder Cup takes place at the K Club, Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland, on 22-24 September.







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