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Page last updated at 09:10 GMT, Wednesday, 15 September 2010 10:10 UK

Lee Westwood confident over Ryder Cup fitness

World number three Lee Westwood
Westwood had been in fine form before his injury setback

World number three Lee Westwood is confident he will be able to play all five rounds in Europe's Ryder Cup clash against the United States next month.

The 37-year-old, who has not played since early August, is fighting to be fit for the Ryder Cup after tearing the plantaris muscle in his right calf.

"I haven't had any pain for three weeks," Westwood told the Golf Channel.

"I've made great progress. I'm pretty strong at the moment. I'd be fine playing in all five matches."

Westwood, who has been a key member of the European team for six Ryder Cup campaigns against the United States, pulled out of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio in August after two rounds because he was finding it hard to put weight on his right leg.

We have been hurt by Lee Westwood's injury. There's no doubt about that

European vice-captain Paul McGinley

He missed the final major of the year, the USPGA Championship, last month and will not play Tour golf until the Ryder Cup begins at Celtic Manor on 1 October.

But Westwood is happy with how his recovery is going, adding: "I've been working with my coach, Pete Cowen, and he says I'm swinging it better than I was before."

Westwood will play at a charity event hosted by Ryder Cup vice-captain Darren Clarke and cricket legend Sir Ian Botham at Archerfield Golf Club in Scotland early next week as he steps up his rehabilitation.

He will then play two rounds on Friday next week in order to "replicate the Ryder Cup with two matches in one day".

Westwood had been in impressive form before his injury setback, finishing second in the Masters and the Open as well as winning the St Jude Classic after beating American Robert Garrigus and Swede Robert Karlsson in a play-off.

In the Ryder Cup, Westwood has been part of four victorious European sides - winning 14, losing 10 and halving five of his 29 matches.

However, Westwood struggled to make an impact in the last Ryder Cup in Valhalla in 2008, earning only two halves out of four matches as the United States regained the trophy.


"Lee started chipping and putting last week and is hitting up to five irons," a spokesman for Westwood's management team told BBC Sport on Tuesday. "There have been no setbacks.

"Everything is going according to plan. He is in the gym every day. He's confident he will be ready, he was confident when he stopped playing last month that he would be."

Should Westwood fail to recover before the opening ceremony on 30 September, skipper Colin Montgomerie would be able to select a replacement, given that Italian Edoardo Molinari, the next eligible man on the World Points list, has already been given a wildcard pick.

That could pave the way for the inclusion of world number seven Paul Casey or fellow Englishman Justin Rose, who has won twice in the United States this year.

The duo missed out as Montgomerie named Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald and Molinari as his wildcard picks at the end of August.

Meanwhile, European vice-captain Paul McGinley admitted on Tuesday that concern over Westwood's fitness has given an advantage to Corey Pavin's United States side.

"A couple of months ago we were quite clear favourites but in the last two months things have changed. We have been hurt by Lee Westwood's injury. There's no doubt about that," McGinley told the Guardian.

"It's going to be an unknown factor until Lee turns up that week and we see how he feels, having not competed since The Open. That's a disappointment for Europe.

"I also think the American team has got a lot stronger over the last two months and we've had some issues - none more so than Lee having been injured and not having played. He's our number one player so I think it's going to be a very close Ryder Cup."

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see also
Molinari earns European wildcard
29 Aug 10 |  Golf
Montgomerie bullish over Westwood
25 Aug 10 |  Golf
Montgomerie upbeat over Westwood
12 Aug 10 |  Golf
Injured Westwood to sit out USPGA
06 Aug 10 |  Golf
Westwood reveals Ryder ambition
26 Jul 10 |  Golf
Injured Westwood to play at Open
13 Jul 10 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf

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