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Page last updated at 15:39 GMT, Wednesday, 2 September 2009 16:39 UK

Westwood wants senior Ryder role

Lee Westwood
Westwood was third in both The Open and USPGA in 2009

Lee Westwood says he is keen to take on the mantle of on-course leader for Europe at next year's Ryder Cup.

The 36-year-old is expected to make his seventh Ryder Cup appearance when the event is held at Celtic Manor in 2010.

"I take responsibility quite easily and players could feel free to talk to me if they can't find (Europe captain) Colin Montgomerie," he said.

Qualifying for Montgomerie's team begins at this week's European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre in Switzerland.

Montgomerie played in eight Ryder Cups and his superb record meant he was often regarded as the team's on-course leader.

But the Scot missed the 2008 event and will be solely focused on the non-playing captaincy role in Wales.

"Monty wasn't there so I suppose I had a taste of it last year," added Westwood.

Westwood played down the significance of the opening Ryder Cup qualification event and said: "I'm here this week to win the European Masters.

I would be very disappointed if I hadn't played well enough to be in the Ryder Cup

Rory McIlroy

"If I win then the rest will take care of itself. There is no point in worrying about something that is a consequence of something else - in other words, playing well.

"I am not thinking about the Ryder Cup at all. It only comes into my mind when you lot (the media) mention it!"

The 2000 Order of Merit winner is also involved in the inaugural Race to Dubai, the new European money list, which culminates in November.

Westwood is currently fourth but could take over from third-placed Rory McIlroy this week.

However, world number 24 McIlroy, who has recovered from a cut finger sustained whilst moving house, could leap above Martin Kaymer and Paul Casey to the top of the table if he captures the £290,000 first prize on Sunday.

Earlier this year he described the Ryder Cup as an "exhibition" event but admitted this week: "I would be very disappointed if I hadn't played well enough to be in it."

Last year at Crans-sur-Sierre he led by four shots going into the final round but missed a short putt for victory and lost in a play-off to Frenchman Jean-Francois Lucquin.

"I feel that I'm a better player than I was last year and I've gained a lot of experience, so I'd like to think I'd go very close," he said.

The European Masters is the first tournament in Europe to be co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour.

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see also
McIlroy out to seize Swiss chance
02 Sep 09 |  Golf
Lawrie in mood for Ryder Cup spot
31 Aug 09 |  Golf
Westwood laments missed chances
19 Jul 09 |  Golf
Europe raise Ryder wildcard quota
12 May 09 |  Golf
Monty to lead Europe at Ryder Cup
28 Jan 09 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf

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