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Ryder Cup 2010: Westwood aims to lead Europe by example

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I could be rested for a match - Westwood

38th Ryder Cup
Venue: Celtic Manor, Newport Date: 1-3 October Starts: 0745 BST on Friday Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live & online, live text commentary online & daily highlights on BBC TWO. Live on Sky Sports 1


Lee Westwood says he is ready to lead by example when he begins the European team's bid to win back the Ryder Cup from the United States at Celtic Manor.

Westwood has been paired with Martin Kaymer against Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson in the first fourball.

"If I get out there - chest out, chin up - I've got the most experience and will try to show them how it's done," said the 37-year-old from Worksop.

The world number three has overcome a calf injury to play in his seventh Cup.

European team captain Colin Montgomerie revealed Westwood asked to follow Mickelson and Johnson's tee shots as part of the first group to tee off at 0745 BST on Friday.

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And earlier on Thursday, Westwood had spoken publicly of his desire to get Europe of to a flying start in their pursuit of the 14.5 points needed to wrestle the trophy from the United States.

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"I'm going to go out there and try and hit the first fairway in my match. Try and knock it on the green, try and win that first hole, try and win a point that first morning," he said ahead of Thursday's announcement of the opening day's pairings.

Westwood had been surprisingly teamed up with rookie Rory McIlroy during final practice on Thursday, but Montgomerie resisted any temptation to spring a surprise and instead selected the 21-year-old Northern Ireland player alongside fellow countryman Graeme McDowell in the day's second group.

The 2009 Open champion Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar will form the opposition for McIlroy and McDowell.

Westwood has not played competitively in two months because of his calf problem, with his last tournament the Bridgestone Invitational back in early August.

When asked whether his injury had made him a doubt for the clash in Wales, Westwood responded: "Yes, it did.

"I think when you go through a rehabilitation process, some weeks it moves quickly, other weeks, you don't see much of an improvement.

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"It's a bit like building a house, if you go back every day, you don't see much of a change.

"It's just because it's something that I've never been through before and you don't know what to expect. It's a bit like being a rookie on the Ryder Cup team."

Westwood admitted that the steep slopes on the Twenty Ten course and possibility of playing 36 holes a day would test his fitness, but added that he was confident of staying the pace.

"I wouldn't be here if I don't think I could play five matches," he added.

"So if Monty [Montgomerie] chooses to play me for five, then hopefully I'll be ready for it.

"I think we've got a strong enough team that we can rest players. It is a tough course physically and maybe the plan would be to rest players."

Westwood, who made his Ryder Cup debut under Seve Ballesteros in 1997, has played 29 matches.

In foursomes, Westwood has six wins and three halves from 11 matches, while in fourballs his return is six wins and two halves from 12.

Europe's number one will leapfrog American Phil Mickelson to take the world number two spot next week - with only Tiger Woods standing between himself and the number one spot.

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Europe team-mate and another Ryder Cup rookie Peter Hanson has been given at least Friday morning to recover from a chest infection that forced him to pull out of last week's Vivendi Cup with a chest infection.

The Swede, along with Miguel-Angel Jimenez and Edoardo and Francesco Molinari, have been left out of the opening day's fourball action.

"I am feeling a lot better," stated 32-year-old Hanson, who is one of six debutants in Montgomerie's team.

"I had a bad cold that went down close to the lungs and into there, so it was a good decision to rest.

"I came here on Monday still not feeling great, but I have to say that from Tuesday morning to now it feels good."

Hanson also commented on how the new experience of playing at the Ryder Cup would affect him.

"I think everybody is going to be nervous. It's hard as a rookie because you don't really know what to expect, but we have all been in positions," he added.

"Every time you get put in a new situation, I think you get that extra bit of nerve.

"I remember the first European Tour event I played on home soil in Sweden.

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"I played as an amateur, and the feeling walking on to that first tee pretty close to where I live with packed grandstands all the way down, I think that feeling is going to be something similar to this."

Tension is also something that Miguel-Angel Jimenez said he has been experiencing, despite the fact the Spaniard is set to make his fourth appearance in the competition.

"It's very tense, especially because it's getting so close now," said Jimenez, who at 46 is the oldest player on the 12-man Europe team.

"When you get here to the Ryder Cup, all week you feel like a knot in your stomach and tomorrow is getting closer and your knot is getting tight."

He added: "It's a good thing, yeah," he said. "It's not nerves. It's something that you can afford, that you want.

"That makes you motivated more, and that's where you want to be. If you don't have those feelings, probably you're not here [in a good state of mind]. You need to feel things and that is important to you."



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see also
Ryder Cup 2010: Thursday photos
30 Sep 10 |  Golf
Ballesteros inspires Europe team
29 Sep 10 |  Golf
McIlroy 'may face Woods backlash'
29 Sep 10 |  Golf
Harrington 'best' in Cup practice
28 Sep 10 |  Golf
Fans will respect us, says Pavin
28 Sep 10 |  Golf
McIlroy stands by Woods comments
29 Sep 10 |  Golf
Ryder Cup 2010: Wednesday photos
29 Sep 10 |  Golf
Ryder Cup 2010: Tuesday photos
28 Sep 10 |  Golf


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