Sep 22nd, 2016
Lee Westwood stokes Tiger Woods' fire
Words: Tim Southwell Photography: Getty Images
“They have always struggled to find a partner for Tiger that’s been successful. He could have an adverse effect in the team room. People have always seemed to try to do too much when they have partnered him. It might be different if he’s one of the vice-captains, you don’t know."
And so it begins. The first jab has been unleashed preceding the Ryder Cup which gets under way at Hazeltine next Friday 1st October.
Europe's most experienced Ryder Cupper (Hazeltine will be his 10th Ryder Cup appearance), Westwood, has suggested to ESPN.com that Tigers' inclusion as a non-playing Vice Captain could actually have an adverse effect on the USA's efforts to win the Ryder Cup for the first time in the last four attempts.
“The captain is obviously building them up a lot and making a few interesting decisions. They have got a strong side and probably are favourites, but they haven’t won it for a while and they are playing in front of a home crowd. There is a lot of pressure on them. That is going to keep building in the next week or so and by the time the Ryder Cup comes around, it is going to be pretty intense for them."
Westy, clearly now on a roll, also brought into question the captaincy of Davis Love around the crucial final day singles at Medinah 2012 when Europe mounted the legendary comeback on the final day, crowned The Miracle Of Medinah. “I don’t know if something went wrong on the Sunday (at Medinah) or the team didn’t play very well for some reason," said Westwood, "but that will be in the back of their minds.”
The controversy surrounding Love's apparent reluctance to give Bubba Watson the 12th and final Captain's pick has also not been lost on Westwood. Watson's 'team ethic' has been a thing of much discussion and Bubba recently finished top of a poll which named 'The tour player you'd least like to help out if there was a fight in the car park' (just so you know, he edged out Patrick Reed, Robert Allenby and Rory Sabatini).
“There seem to have been issues about team spirit and chemistry," added Westwood. "Love has not picked Bubba Watson and I don’t know what that does for team spirit; he was first outside the points qualification and is No7 in the world."
Davis Love has one wildcard remaining, with Bubba seemingly battling against Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger for the spot.
The Miracle Of Medinah – This is ace