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Page last updated at 15:14 GMT, Monday, 22 September 2008 16:14 UK

Westwood points finger at Azinger

Lee Westwood
Westwood failed to win a match over the three days

Europe's Lee Westwood has blamed United States captain Paul Azinger for the "shameful" behaviour of some of the crowd at the Ryder Cup in Valhalla.

Westwood pinpointed Azinger's rallying call, in which he urged fans to cheer missed Europeans putts, as the reason for some of the unsavoury scenes.

"Some people don't know the difference between supporting their team and abusing the opposition," he said.

"They were incited to do that. Not by the players, it's down to the captain."

It was the first victory for the US since 1999 at Brookline, which was also marred by abuse from American spectators, but Azinger took a different view and praised the fans for their behaviour.

"I have been abused from start to finish. Some of the stuff that's been said to me this week is shameful," added Westwood.

"I thought it was a thing of the past. Other than the last day at Brookline the crowds were great there. In Detroit they were great, at other tournaments they are great.

I thought the crowd was phenomenal. They made a big difference, and I thought everybody was beautifully behaved

US captain Paul Azinger

"The crowds in Europe, if the US team miss a putt there's silence and then a clap because we've won the hole, there's not the clapping and cheering straight away.

"But that's not to take away from the great American performance, I think they outplayed us this week."

He revealed that one abusive comment at Valhalla was a "particularly nasty reference to my mother" and that his parents had also been woken by a phone call at 4.30am on Sunday.

"They were trying to ring me but called the wrong hotel and got the wrong Westwood," he added.

"It really upset my dad's preparations for walking around the course!"

Westwood, who complained on Friday about Boo Weekley whipping up the crowd while European players still had shots to play, failed to win any of his four matches.

Lee Westwood

Westwood 'spooked' by fans' behaviour

But the Ryder Cup veteran was quick to pay tribute to the American side after losing to Ben Curtis in the singles, as well as absolving skipper Nick Faldo of any blame.

"I thought the pairings were pretty well sorted, we rotated well and when I saw the singles draw I quite liked it," said Westwood, joint-top points scorer in the previous two contests.

"Hats off to the Americans for playing good. Ben certainly played well today, he must have been five under par in winning.

"And I thought Steve Stricker's putt on 18 last night was crucial (he holed for birdie on the 18th to deny Paul Casey and Garcia victory in the fourballs). We would have been within a point rather than two."

Azinger backed the behaviour of the home fans who were the majority of the estimated 50,000 spectators at Valhalla.

"I talked to a bunch of the police officers and they didn't throw anybody out the whole week," said Azinger.


"So I thought the crowd was phenomenal. They made a big difference, and I thought everybody was beautifully behaved. I'm real, real proud.

"There was a lot of alcohol served out there and there were no fights going on, nobody screaming at inappropriate times.

"I couldn't be prouder of the fans from this nation and the way they embraced us, from this state the way they embraced us, and the European fans were fantastic, as well.

"So the incidents, if there were some, they were few and far between. There were thousands of people out there; I thought it was amazing."

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