Ryder Cup: Wild card Lee Westwood feels justified

Ryder Cup
Ryder Cup

Ryder Cup veteran Lee Westwood felt his opening-day performance at Gleneagles went some way to justifying his selection as a wild card.

The 41-year-old from Worksop, playing in his ninth event, was short of form coming into the contest but Paul McGinley selected him based on his vast experience.

Together with rookie Jamie Donaldson he secured Europe’s first point of the afternoon foursomes with a two-hole victory over Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar.

“It’s nice for the captain when he picks you to repay him with points, because the captain needs confidence as much as the rest of the players,” said the Englishman, who was rested for the morning fourballs.

“He needs to know that he’s done his work well and put the foundations in there and the picks are a big part of that.

“I guess when he was picking me he was picking experience to play with somebody that had not played before, and it worked out well for him.

“Paul has made me very aware of the role I’m going to play and when he wants me to play, and having a lie in was a new thing for me but it was nice, turning the TV on, watching the lads suffer in the cold.

“I think Paul’s doing a good job and he seems to have cherry-picked and picked a lot of previous captains’ brains.”

Westwood had plenty of praise for his partner as well.

“When you’ve played a few, it’s fun watching somebody who has made their debut play so well and take to it like a duck to water,” he added.

“I had no doubt he would, really. He plays well in the big events. He plays well under pressure and you don’t tend to get much more pressure than a Ryder Cup, especially when you’re making your debut.”

Donaldson comes across as a quiet, often dour, character but he was seen celebrating with gusto after holing a birdie putt on the 14th to maintain their two-hole lead.

“Obviously you try to keep on a level keel all the time so the emotions don’t go too up and down,” he said.

“You’re not sort of over-hyping yourself up sort of thing then a few fist-pumps came from nowhere.

“Obviously this event is going to bring that out in you.”