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Ryder Cup 2012: Should Lee Westwood play all five sessions?

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Iain Carter | 18:52 UK time, Monday, 24 September 2012

Lee Westwood departed the Tour Championship defiantly stating he would be ready for the Ryder Cup despite finishing dead last in the 30-man field.

Not only that, the 39-year-old who was 15 over par at East Lake, insisted he was readying himself to be in prime shape to play all five sessions against the USA.

Westwood has only missed one sequence of matches in an unbroken Ryder Cup career that stretches back to 1997.

At Medinah this week it would be no surprise if he were among those asked to do another full shift on Europe's behalf. But would that constitute sensible tactics?
Not because Westwood had such a miserable week in Atlanta, but because the demands of appearing in every session invariably undermine performance somewhere along the line.

"It's a tiring week. With 36 holes Friday and Saturday hopefully, it can take it out of you," Westwood said.

Naturally every player wants to compete in every session - that's part of any elite performer's DNA and they feel they can live with the inevitable fatigue. But captains have to dispassionately decide on each player's workload.

Lee Westwood of England with Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain

Will European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal (left) select Lee Westwood for all five sessions?

In past Ryder Cups European skippers had to depend heavily on their star names and fit the lesser lights around them. In 1999 Mark James infamously didn't blood three of his rookies until the singles. The policy produced a four point lead heading into the final day but it didn't prove enough as America swept through the Sunday singles.

Nowadays there is such strength in depth on both sides that neither captain needs to flog his elite players for the entire match. All 24 at Medinah are ranked inside the world's top 35.

If Jose Maria Olazabal and Davis Love III want their golfers at their best for the final day they should tell them they are all likely to be rested at some stage.
Westwood has been on the winning team in five of his seven Ryder Cups and has played massive roles in each of those triumphs. He has amassed 19 points from 33 matches, but only two of those have come in singles.

Heroics in foursomes and fourballs have come at a cost. The same can be said of Sergio Garcia who has won only one of five final day matches.

Going back further Ian Woosnam managed only two halves from eight singles matches. Too often he was a spent force on the day the trophy was decided.
By contrast Colin Montgomerie was famously unbeaten in singles despite doing full duty in foursomes and fourballs in the majority of his eight appearances. Then again, Monty bucked most trends throughout his career.

At last year's Solheim Cup Europe's captain Alison Nicholas told her team that no one
would play all five matches. She knew it would be a close contest and believed she had sufficient strength in depth for her plan to work.

The upshot was a thrilling victory in the singles after the scores had been levelled heading into the final day and the trophy returned to European hands. Nicholas' example could be well worth following this week.

There is every reason to expect the 39th Ryder Cup to be one of the tightest contests and the challenge for both captains is to find a deciding edge.

Communicating such a policy is vital. When Westwood was dropped for the Saturday foursomes at Valhalla it was a bolt from the blue and the timing was appalling.

Captain Sir Nick Faldo told his fellow Englishman halfway through a tough Friday afternoon fourball as Westwood was striving to equal Arnold Palmer's record run of unbeaten matches.

It was a blow to Westwood's pride and nearly cost Europe the fourball where he was partnering Soren Hansen against JB Holmes and Boo Weekley.

Olazabal is far less likely to be so crass in communicating his plans. He also knows he has as strong a European line up through player one to twelve as any of his predecessors.

Love can say the same of his American team, but does he have the courage to bench his talisman Tiger Woods?

The former world number one is at his most effective in the singles and hasn't lost since falling to Costantino Rocca on debut in 1997. By contrast he has delivered only nine and half points from 23 matches in foursomes and fourballs.

Woods' likely pairing with Steve Stricker looks like being a potent combination but will they be expected to play 36 holes on each of the first two days?

The re-jigging of the weather affected schedule at Celtic Manor two years ago meant that no one could play more than four matches. With the weather set fair here in Chicago there appears no chance of a repeat scenario.
It will be down to the captains to decide how many matches their charges will play. It might just be that less means more.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    I'd have thought it would have been more relevent to pose the question - should Rory play all 5 sessions!

    JMO has a strength and depth in his team and to compete efficiently in the final day singles a rest, at some point over the first 4 sessions should pay dividends.

  • Comment number 2.

    Play Westwood first session and see how it goes from there. The Ryder Cup is such a different tournament to the regular events that it can inspire a player like no other. Westwood's RC record speaks is brilliant and to write him off just because of one tournament would be rash.

  • Comment number 3.

    stick him in with lawrie from the get go for a great british pairing. with westy's driving accuracy and 'chipy's' famous short game they'd make a great pairing and may well make us 2 points from day. I'd then have them both in again sat morning and then rest up for the singles on sunday.

  • Comment number 4.

    I hate to say I told ya so but Westwood's short comings are magnified on the PGA tour. He simply cant keep up with the standard it has. For the world no. 4 to come last & 26 shots off the lead its time to hang up your boots & save some face.

    I would stick him out first with Kaymer & throw the game. We could then focus on winning the other three.

  • Comment number 5.

    Well. Have to add a little transatlantic comment to this whole site. Speaking as someone from the ROW - what a demeaning phrase- I don't really give a darn who wins the RC. I know Europe, and especially Britain, are desparate to take down the U.S. In the President's Cup I am somewhat less desparate to take down the U.S., but I do recognize that the world of golf has become polarized between Europe and the U.S. (aka America, but actually NOT America, only Europeans would confuse America with the United states of America ) . But I think the RC has become the antithesis of all that this wonderful game means. It is now, apparently, about national or continental rivalries, it is about beating a couple of continents that will rather soon be has-beens in this world, and in the world of golf also. And even more, it has come to mean the beating up of the playing partner you are going out with. I don't think that is golf at all.

  • Comment number 6.

    Point of order - Mark James did not play THREE players before the singles at Brookline. Olazabal & Harrington rotated with Jimenez in the four balls & foursomes.

  • Comment number 7.

    3days of hopefully the most exciting golf imaginable to come and I for one can't wait. This will be my 26th as a spectator and I can't remember one that has so many highly ranked players all showing some form over the last few weeks. One poor tournament should not affect selection. I hope Olly plays everyone on day 1 then reassess for day 2. For what it's worth my pairings for day 1 would be. Rose/Poulter. Colsaerts/Molinari, Rory/Gmac and Donald/Westwood foresomes.
    Garcia/Donald, Rory/Lawrie, Poulter/Rose and Kaymer/Hanson fourballs.
    Europe to win please.

  • Comment number 8.

    Sorry typo 23rd not 26th

  • Comment number 9.

    wcihis interesting so you giving Lee a rest?? Not sure but i think its Forballs first so you might have the line ups a bit different?
    Fourballs I would put Rory and GMac out first show some intent.
    Then why not get Colesearts out there with Sergio.
    then Donald and Westwood
    and finally Rose and Poulter.
    Afternoon foursome
    Rory and Westwood
    Lawrie and Hanson
    Rose and Poulter
    Molinari and Kaymer
    Though afternoon would be subject to change based on the mornings events.

  • Comment number 10.

    Cant believe a few are giving Garcia foresomes off with his record in it?!

    Anyway Id say that no one needs to play all 5 times with the strength of the team this year.

  • Comment number 11.

    i have the greatest respect for lee westwood and his rc record but the golf he is playing at the moment is just not up to rc standard hope he can change it around in the next couple of days cos if he cant all i can see is embarressment for him

  • Comment number 12.

    Two week update as I missed doing it last time out, these are the collated scores

    Wibbliouswobblious 13
    Daveyboy 10
    8 for 6 for 1 10
    The Lion 6
    Maninasuitcase 3
    Whycantihititstraight 3

  • Comment number 13.

    Daveyboy, foresomes first each day according to RC team Europe website.

  • Comment number 14.

    Daveyboy 201
    8 for 6 for 1 179
    Jimmy 157
    Maninasuitcase 149
    Cfcboy23 143
    Gbell 136
    Mattefc 136
    Golfrants 130
    Wibbliouswobblious 100
    Yorkshire Blogster 86
    BMG 74
    Sumo82 65
    2IK 55
    Golden Bear 49
    Whycantihititstraight 42
    The Lion 22
    Addictedtogolf 13
    Carl 6
    Herrflickk 0

  • Comment number 15.

    Predictions are slightly different for this Week. You need to pick what you think the overall score will be 10 points for getting it bang on, 5 points for correctly guessing the winning team. Then pick the top scorer for each team, 5 points for correctly Guessing the top or Joint top scorer for each side.

    My Predictions are USA 15 1/2 - 12 1/2 Europe
    Top Scorers - Rose and Kuchar

  • Comment number 16.

    @ DBF......foursomes 1st. Therefore ny choices would be:
    Garcia / Donald, Poulter / Rose, McIlroy / Hanson, Westwood / Lawrie.
    In that order.
    Fourballs in the arvo would be:
    Molinari / Colsaerts, Garcia / Westwood, Kaymer / McDowell, McIlroy / Donald.
    In that order.

  • Comment number 17.

    Nice one TheRealJimmy. My predictions are USA 12 Europe 16. Highest scores Poulter and D Johnson.

  • Comment number 18.

    Well comment 5, everyone is allowed their own opinion. However in this case, yours is wrong!

  • Comment number 19.

    Predictions! Europe to win 14.5 - USA 13.5

    Top scorers - Lukeeeeeeeee and Dustin J

  • Comment number 20.

    Nice one Jimmy,nice one son,nice one Jimmy let's have another one :-)

    Jimmy My predictions are

    Usa 13.5-Europe 14.5

    Top scorers

    Poulter and Tiger,although I would like to go for :

    westwood
    donald
    Macilroy
    Macdowell
    Lawrie et al

    What about a couple of bonus points if your player is undefeated although not top points scorer ?

  • Comment number 21.

    Thankfully JMO is nobody's fool and he knows his own mind. I imagine there will be many conversations with players 'expecting' certain things to happen in both camps and them being politely, diplomatically but correctly told that their Captain makes the calls and if he wants them to play they will but if he wants them to rest that is what they will do.

    Thankfully also that it is JMO as the Captain and not JM because his blinkered views are absolutely rubbish.

  • Comment number 22.

    I'll have a go at that Jimmy;

    USA to win 16-12.

    Top Scorers;Tiger & Rory.

  • Comment number 23.

    Why the reference to the Sondheim Cup? Its like comparing spoons and ducks.

  • Comment number 24.

    Forget sentiment, Westwood isn't playing well.
    Lawrie, McIlroy, Garcia, Donald are all in decent form and they need to lead the charge.

  • Comment number 25.

    Re No. 5... Tom, you make an excellent point about the spirit of the game, although Brookline and Kiawah Island aside, I think the games have generally been played in great spirit between the two teams (although I accept that fans can be something else, no matter where they hail from).

    It's a shame the positive note is lost in a rant. Is ROW really such a demeaning term when you're talking about two specifc continents (and isn't the correct term the 'International Team' when you're talking about the Presdents Cup?)? I also think your comment about America is a bit harsh. Iain Carter correctly refers to the USA or US throughout his article and erroneously uses America only once... and do not the inhabitants of that country refer to themselves as Americans? A forgiveable typo or abbreviation surely!

    As for it being mostly Brits who long for US defeat in the Ryder Cup, I've had the good fortune to enjoy the company of a group including Spaniards and Swedes during a Ryder Cup and I can assure you they were as passionate about the event as anyone you'd care to meet... and all within the spirit of the game of course!

    Let's just enjoy a great sporting spectacle and leave the jingoism and intercontinental drifts to a different blog (and I'm neither American nor European in case it's relevant!)

  • Comment number 26.

    Not quite sure why people are jumping up and down saying Westwood isn't good enough at the moment. Don't forget in the BMW Championship he finished tied 2nd behind McIlroy.

    Also you can't play McIlroy and Westwopd together, it wouldn't work. Ollie knows the importance of playing with an established partner, after all he performed amazing with Seve. Rory will play only with McDowell, Garcia will play 3 out of 4 with Donald, as their record together is incredible. Poulter and Rose will team up for 3 matches aswell.

    Westwood is most likely to be paired with Molinari or Lawrie in foursomes and Colsaerts in Fourball

  • Comment number 27.

    Westwood will be fine , some of you are right hysterical fannies , he wasn't far off winning the BMW the other week , ye he didn't play great at East Lake big deal its a non factor once the tee off in this.

  • Comment number 28.

    3 , Spot on i reckon , it makes sense.

  • Comment number 29.

    Europe 15.5 US 12.5 , Garcia top scorer.

  • Comment number 30.

    I am reliably nformed that westwood ( who had no chance of winning either the tournament or the fed ex on sunday) used it as a practice round and saved all hs emotional energy for ths week n hs locker, hs supposed dismal performance over the weekend was down to one thing,. save you energy for next week. Same wth sergio. dont worry about these guys they will be there with their heads on

  • Comment number 31.

    unfortunately I thnk our wonderful Rpry wll be well below par. remember he s only a yopungester and the last two months wll have left hm emotionally drained. can see him being flat as a pancake and strugglng to get going

  • Comment number 32.

    I'll echo the comments of #1 and # 31- I believe that McIlroy might be a bigger concern to Olazabal than Westwood.

    McIlroy has recently played 4 tournaments in the past five weeks, and 6 out of the last 8 weeks going back to Bridgestone. He has either won or was in contention to win nearly all of those (I think The Barclays was the only one he didn't feature in), and that can be draining all by itself- that's why so few players other than the truly exceptional (Tiger, Hogan, Jack, latterly Rory) can win back-to-back events. Up to R3 at East Lake, Rory had played 11 consecutive rounds in the 60s. I get the feeling that Round 4 was a bridge too far, even for him.

    But now he has to go pick himself up for, potentially, 5 rounds over three days. And not only that, but a format very different to 72 hole strokeplay. Rory has put his recent success down to his setting a target ('a number' in American parlance) and playing to it over the course of a round or several rounds. He can't do that in Match play, every hole becomes an event in it's own right. I imagine it can be a fair bit more draining mentally than complling an 18 hole round in medal play. And then there's the different formats- the Fourball/Betterball rounds can take ridiculous amounts of time to complete, which must take a lot of concentration of the player's part. I hope I'm wrong, as you won't find a bigger fan of Rory than me, but I just get the feeling he might be heading for a fall, here.

  • Comment number 33.

    I'm not sure why the blog is specifically about Lee Westwood... as above there are reasons for against his likely input to the overall scores but I'd like to think karlwbrown #30 is nearer the truth. Ultimately fans and non-fans will believe whichever suits their view of said player. What can't be denied is his relatively poor singles record (and Sergio as stated) so it is up to Ollie to get win for Europe on Sunday whichever way he can and my guess would be rotating all players across the first two days in theory. That said form on Friday may prove telling... would you drop a fired up and unbeaten Poulter for instance? All very intriguing!

  • Comment number 34.

    Matchplay is completely different than trying to post a score. Westwood should play the both sessions on day 1. His RC record is second to none and I believe all players should have a breather before Sunday's singles.

  • Comment number 35.

    5 games? I'd give him 1, his form is honking! Not just the last tournament, the last 6 months! He's not been near a win or even a top 10! I'd play the form players, they are all experienced so it's not a big sacrifice. Come one Europe! Does anybody know Gmac and Rory's doubles record together? Would be interesting, everyone keeps saying pair them together but from memory I wouldn't think it is too impressive?!

  • Comment number 36.

    Westwood should only be played in the singles. Stick him out last so hopefully he wont be needed. He will get trashed by any of the American team.

  • Comment number 37.

    35- Rory and GMac are 1-1-1 in Ryder Cups- their one win coming in Foursomes. Not sure abiut their record in minor team events like Seeve Trophy

  • Comment number 38.

    Further to my earlier answer, a quick search indicates that in the 2009 seve trophy, Rory & Gmac were paired together 4 times, winning 3 and 1 defeat. They've never been paired together in any other team event from what I can see.

  • Comment number 39.

    Just for all the Westwood critics who apparently hasn't played well recently, was upto East lake 7th in the Fed ex with top tens in 2 off the fed ex cup events, challenged Rory all the way in the BMW and tied for 2nd with Phil Mickelson. The tour championship was a blip and he will come good this week, possibly paired with Garcia and Donald.

  • Comment number 40.

    Westwood fourballs only. Putting lets him down but he can make a rake of birdies with someone like Colsearts/Garcia

  • Comment number 41.

    Some interesting comment over what will or should happen with regards to pairings most of which are totally valid, It is a difficult balancing act as there are so many variables to take into account, many of them kind of contradict each other.

    You really want to keep your form players on the course but at the same time you also want to rest them all at least once
    You'd like to put the inexperienced players with a more seasoned veteran but many of the most natural pairings look to contain two experienced guys (Rose/Poulter, Westwood/Donald/Sergio in any combination even G-mac/R-mac to an extent)
    You'd like to give every player a go before singles but do you risk a player playing poorly giving away what could be a cheap point.

    Sounds like a minefield but luckily the Americans will have the same dilema anyway

  • Comment number 42.

    Just read that DL3 is already whipping up the US crowd, so expect to hear all the usual moronic shouts. GEDDIN THE HOLE ( other golf books available but not as good) will be shrieked out as they tee off. I doubt wether the people running the RC this week will be able to control the American sports fan. Hopefully Europe will quieter them down with superior play and by building an early lead.
    Also read that Europe will honour Seve by wearing Navy Blue and white on Sunday. Hope that's true and they carry the spirit of the great man within them.

  • Comment number 43.

    WCIHIS... that's quite a mouthful to shout - "geddin the hole, other golf books available but not as good"! I suggest it might be curtailed the longer the bars are open.
    Ref. Seve - I would be tempted to include his name/initials/infamous silhouette on all the team kit/uniform as a constant reminder to all. No better an incentive to play your heart out...

  • Comment number 44.

    43- I share tour concern about the US home crowd. This could, in terms of supporter behaviour, be the worst Ryder Cup in my lifetime- yes, worse than Brookline and Valhalla. I have a horrible feeling that all the wrong ingredients are going into the melting pot...

    Consider that Chicago is a big sporting city, where the locals are used to whooping and hollering after their professional sports teams in Gridiron etc. Alot of these fans ('casual' golf fans, if you will) are going to be in the gallery at Medinah, and I fear they will bring alot of their partisanship with them. Couple that wih he fact that Europe are defending the trophy, have the Numbe One player in the world who is a know quantity to US audiences and has knocked their darling Tiger into a cocked hat over the last few months, one or two European players who the crowd probabaly suspect they can 'get at' (Sergio being the most obvious example, but I do think Poults might be a bit suspect too).... it all spells a recepie for disaster from that point of view.

  • Comment number 45.

    I think that a loud and rowdy Ryder Cup is to be expected, I also expect a lot of hypocritical criticims from our side. The Ryder Cup is loud and rowdy wherever its played, its the nature of the beast. I therefore have no problems with what DL3 said, would've perhaps been good if he had also called on the fans to ensure that the partizanship never slips into disrespectful behaviour and bad sportsmanship. But perhaps the opening ceremony is the time for that.

  • Comment number 46.

    After last weeks very poor showing Westwood needs someone or something to inspire him. The pairings are going to be very interesting, this is were the captain and vice captains will earn their crust. Looking at the form of some of our big players there will be some big decisions to be made, the captain and vice captains will have to be strong and brave to drop those who are not playing well, and this will be the difference between the two sides. My heart wants Europe to win but my head tells me USA to be much too strong.So my prediction is USA 16 Europe 12. Snedeker & Rose top scorers.

  • Comment number 47.

    Westwood hasn't played as well this year as previously but he's still pretty good you know. His putting is a bit like Monty's was in that he lags everything to the hole. Even needing a birdie at the last to tie Rocco Mediate his putt barely reached the hole - Tiger's, by contrast, went in at pace. However this is matchplay and just as Monty found putting easier in the Ryder Cup as he didn't need the one back, so does Westwood. My recollection is of Westwood holing lots of putts in Ryder Cups and I expect that to continue this week. And why wouldn't you play the best driver of a golf ball in the World in foursomes? Having read all the nonsense in these comments I may back him to be Europe's top points scorer!

  • Comment number 48.

    47- I don't share your confidence that Westwoods putting will suddenly become good- it's arguably got worse this season than it was previously. Whilst he may historically have had a problem 'pacing' putts (I don't know because I've not followed his early career that closely) the number of frank out-and-out mis-read putts he hit at East Lake alone was astonishing- on Satuday there were at least two 10- or 15 foot putts that missed by the width of the hole of more. It was the same at BMW (one particularly bad long putt prompted a very caustic comment from the biggest LW fan in the world, Johnny Miller- 'What a great read that was!') It doesn't matter what pace you hit your putss at, if they're that far off line, they'll never go n.

  • Comment number 49.

    My prediction (although I have to admit I have an unfair advantage having 'borrowed' #jamesmatthews infamous crystal ball)

    It mystically reveals that Lee Westwood birdies five of the last six holes to win his match and retain the cup - score 14-14. Rory and Stricker top scores

  • Comment number 50.

    Ross #41... let's hope we're wrong but it is an event where an out-pouring of emotion is guaranteed as has been seen in Europe. I think it's just second nature to be defensive in a 'them and us' way... 'they' are boorish and loud but we (on home soil) are 'patriotic', 'supremely supportive' and 'understand the game' etc etc
    Whichever way you slice it, home advantage is home advantage and it 'they' (ha!) want to push the boundaries of what is acceptable then so be it. Any backlash has to therefore be taken graciously a la Brookline where I believe any criticism of team and crowd was taken on the chin (or chins... OMeara, Sutton ;-))

  • Comment number 51.

    @50 - I think you have your names and numbers mixed up.

    I think the possibility of poor behaviour from the US crowd is a very real one, I quite like and respect the majority of the US team and think their behaviour whilst potentially quite OTT and brash to our understated British sensibilities, will remain comfortably within the confines of what is considered acceptable.

    However i think its unfair to condemn the crowd before a ball has been struck, who's to say that tey wont be partizan but fair. I think there is also the danger of looking like bad losers from a European point of view. No complains about the Crowds at Oakland Hills, Oak Hill and Muirfield Village, but how terrible were the Americans at Kiawah, Brookline and Valhalla.

  • Comment number 52.

    Lee Westwood is one of my fav players but I have to admit since he moved to the US his game just isnt up to scratch. To come last and +15 in a 30 man event was an all time low for Lee. I fear he is the worst player on either team and wont be in the top 10 in the world much longer.

    Europe to win 16-12.

  • Comment number 53.

    #51 Jimmy, I didn't say 'how many' chins!

  • Comment number 54.

    Another note is there is no denying that Westwoods putting let's him down, but his consistency is a huge plus particularly in foursomes. He has missed one cut all year admittedly in the USPGA but has also had ten top 10s and two wins. Westwoods experience will be invaluable and I think he will play with Donald in the Foursomes and how about colsearts in the four balls who he would complement well.

    If you are focusing on our bad players then my reservation is with Martin Kaymer. Who is seriously lacking in confidence.

    Let's get behind the team and laugh at the potato references shouted a tiger, idiots!!!!

  • Comment number 55.

    Cfc - I was referring to you thinking Ross had made comment #41. I'll leave the chin counting in your capable hands

  • Comment number 56.

    #52 If Westwood is one of your favourites I'd hate to read how disparaging you would be to people you don't like!

  • Comment number 57.

    @52

    Westwood came last in a 30-man field that pretty much comprised 30 of the worlds best golfers right now. You make it sound like he came last in a 30-man invitational tournament.

    It's not too long ago that he was competing at the Masters and the US Open, albeit never really in contention to win. How is that any different to Stricker? I don't hear anyone launching into Stricker in such a way as I'm seeing on here about LW.

  • Comment number 58.

    I hope the uneducated Americans dont just show up because its a sporting event and start drinking at 11am and hurl abuse and 'mashed patatoe' all day long. It really is embarrassing and reflects very badly on American culture.

  • Comment number 59.

    @LordFimm....are you saying that because it was a field of the 30 best golfers in the world that Lee coming LAST is somewhat encouraging? The guy is "number 4" in the world. Albeit he got there by playing tournaments in Asia where the field was sub par. I just hope he gets good partners who can carry him to a point or 2...otherwise it might be time to retire.

  • Comment number 60.

    coming out of my self-imposed exile to join the predictions...

    usa 15...europe 13

    top scorers...mcilroy...woods

    i'm away to italy on thursday for a family wedding...i only hope 'sky italia' has full rc coverage

    enjoy!

  • Comment number 61.

    With the fervour shown by players from both sides over the last few weeks it's little wonder that the fans get equally hyped for the RC. It will certainly be very loud this week - if the US are winning a match there'll be screaming and if they are down the players will encourage the fans to get behind them. Personally, I don't have any issues with that. It will only cross the line if patroitism overtakes sportsmanship

  • Comment number 62.

    35 - He was 2nd to Rory in the BMW less than 3 weeks ago please follow golf more closely if you wish to comment on these forums

    36 - we'll see shall we? Oh ye of little faith

    47 - spot on!

    Don't think anyone should play all 5 sessions though.

  • Comment number 63.

    @jamesmathew

    I didn't say encouraging, I just said that your description of him and his form is unncessarily dramatic. He's not number 4 by accident. He's still consistent tee-to-green, which is perfect for Foursomes.

    You can't get to number 4 in the world by playing tournaments in Asia with weak fields, there aren't enough ranking points. He's number 4 because of consistently high finishes in 2010, 11 and early 2012 in global tournaments.

    Lastly, time to retire?

  • Comment number 64.

    In focusing your blog on Westwood, you appear to believe him to be the weakest link, based on current form. Yet, he did make it through to the last 30 in the Fedex Cup playoffs. After missing the cut in the PGA Championship, he came back to finish tied 5th in the Barclays and tied 2nd in the BMW Championship. I'd be more concerned about McDowell and Molinari.

  • Comment number 65.

    @Ian

    Good sense there Ian. Even worse than them though, I'd be very, very worried about Kaymer. He's hardly got the charisma to turn around a slump in form, I predict him not playing until the singles.

  • Comment number 66.

    60- I wouldnt say he was necessarily focusing on Lee a a weak link, more an essential cog on the european machinery. It;s telling that the one RC where Westwood had a bit of a stinker was Valhalla, where Europe lost.

    As Iain points out, Lee Westwood has not only been an ever-present RC player since 1997, but has more often than not played most of the matches, hence the shock when Faldo dopped for a session at Valhalla. Lee has a good record in pairs matches, so you'd expect him to figure in most in not all the pairs sessions if fit and in-form. It's worrying that he's been a bit up and down this year, and the temptation to play him in all four pairs matches becasue of his percieved all round qualities could cost him and Europe on Sunday (the singles matches are all about momentum).

  • Comment number 67.

    sorry, 64 not 60. Wrong number!

  • Comment number 68.

    @65 - One of the more bizzare comments that i've read on here. I'm not sure what Charisma has to do with his ability to turn around a slump in form. Steve Stricker is a master of overcoming a slump (Not once but twice comeback player of the year on the PGA tour) and whilst he seems a perfectly decent fellow he isnt exactly full of charisma.

    Kaymers form has been notably poor for some time now, however recent outings have shown glimpses of his former self and a T5 last time out will have done his confidence a world of good i'd have thought

  • Comment number 69.

    @68 What I mean by the comment is that he's not the kind of player to feed off the energy around him to inspire himself. Someone like Sergio can up his game purely be feeding off the crowd. Make sense now?

  • Comment number 70.

    A little bit, can put that disagreement down to a bit of an error in communication. I have a sneaky feeling that Kaymer will do ok and not be the whipping boy his form might suggest. Its only a hunch though.

  • Comment number 71.

    Looks to me that DL3 has more problems with his players form than Olly. Bradley hasn't 'turned up' for weeks now. Stricker, Johnson Z, Duffner,Johnson D, Kuchar and even Phil have really been struggling. Apart from one round Furyk looked poor, Simpson and Bubba were also one round wonders at the Tour Championship.
    Traditionally the European team spirit lifts its players and the USA appear disjointed unless when exhibiting boorish behaviour.

  • Comment number 72.

    Pairings:

    Rory & Kaymer
    Lee & COLSAERTS
    Lawrie & Garcia
    GMAC & Poults

  • Comment number 73.

    The one thing you can bank on from Kaymer will be his ability to switch off the noise and distractions from a justifiably partisan American crowd. (Note, I'm not going to use United States of America as the title. Those in those states refer to themselves as American while those in the Southern regions go by their individual country names - e.g. Venezuala, Colombia and to call them Americans would be an insult).

    This is one of those matches that looks too close to call so for Jimmy's sake I'm going for a 13.5 - 14.5 in favour of "America" but I hope I'm wrong!!!! Top scorers will be Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose. (*immediately* regrets making such a wild guess).

  • Comment number 74.

    Talking of charisma and character... possibly Westwood's greatest strength currently. He appears as relaxed as anyone at the moment and that can only help the team. Yes we can pick holes in his game but his contribution to the team spirit will be second to none and that may be worth an extra point here and there.
    That said, when he reads some of jamesmathew's comments... all could change!

  • Comment number 75.

    Westwood should pretend to be sick and pull out of the event and let Harrington come in and play. If he was a real team player he would do this but like Faldo he is not a team player...but an individual with an ego.

  • Comment number 76.

    James, that's gotta be a windup, surely?

    Look, I pick as many holes in LW's game as anyone but even I can see that picking a player ranked 50 or so places below Lee, who hasn't won a tournament worthy of the name in 4 years, has a poor RC record and is most definitley NOT a team player by most accounts is no improvement.

  • Comment number 77.

    @75

    ego and Lee Westwood are not synonymous. he man is as humble as they come, so can only assume you are trying to stir it or clearly know nothing about golf....

  • Comment number 78.

    Don247 - You may need to get the oven warming as I suspect there will be astonishingly large slices of Don's Humble Pie required come Sunday evening.

    I readily admit my own prediction (rubbish guess) will be worth nothing but there is a certain other poster (Troll) on here who will most likely need to consume such quantities as to earn him immediate entry into the Guiness Book of Records (Other alcoholic beverage sponsors available)

  • Comment number 79.

    Careful guys your all gradually being reeled in by the fisherman.

  • Comment number 80.

    #79 wcihis - I know, i know but I just couldn't resist it. Is he Bilo in disguise?

  • Comment number 81.

    #76 + #77

    OK I admit maybe pulling out of the event is a bit extreem so I take that part back. But I really cant see him adding anything to the team efforts after the 3 days are finished. Im a big Lee fan and in the past he has been amazing in the RC...alot lot Monty the way he would always show up with his A game come Friday morning...but this year I dont see that happen. The course is designed for good putters. The rough is low therefore everyone will be shooting the ball close to the pin...its from there it will be won or lost and its from there that Lee's short comings will be magnified.

    I can see him playing the 2 four balls and the singles and thats all...and maybe getting 1 win if his partner is good.

  • Comment number 82.

    Obviously Lee Westwood has been struggling most of the summer as he himself has admitted and watching him in the US Open it was obvious his ball striking wasn't up to his normal standard (although at times his short game was very good). However, I remember before the Belfry in 2002 he suffered a loss of form but when the Ryder Cup started he was able to find his game and played well. I believe he can do the same again, and remember he is a much more accomplished player than he was back then. Personally I'm more worried about Martin Kaymer.

    As far as playing all five matches is concerned, with the strength in depth that Europe has, it's important to try to give every player a rest. How many times have we seen Lee and Sergio in particular perform miracles on the first two days then lose their singles matches, no wonder their singles records are not good. I doubt it's a physical thing, the mental pressure of performing at that level for up to 72 holes in two days has to take it's toll and they've had nothing in the tank come the singles. We need to avoid that if we can and let's not put McIlroy, MacDowell, Donald, Rose or Poulter (as the other players most likely to play most sessions) in that position. Remember Rory lost his singles at Celtic Manor also. We've got a huge hitter in Colsaerts so providing he handles the pressure he should be given plenty of
    action and so should Paul Lawrie who proved what a good match player he is as one of the few European singles winners at Brookline.

  • Comment number 83.

    #76 Ross1980

    I think you'll find jamesmathew is a troll. To be a successful troll you have to walk the line between between plausibly annoying and obtuse and being just unbelievably stupid and ignorant (and have a “borderline personality disorder”). I must admit, jm had me going for many weeks, but post #4 was a step too far - Nobody claiming to be a golf fan can be that ignorant. Sorry jm, time to stop now!

  • Comment number 84.

    Correction to my last post, Rory McIlroy did not lose his singles in 2010, he of course brilliantly got up and down from a greenside bunker on the eighteenth after his forst bunker shot roll back down and holed a putt for the half point with Cink.

    My apologies!

  • Comment number 85.

    #82 I think you'll find that Rory halved his singles match at Celtic Manor. Got up and down from the bunker at the last.

  • Comment number 86.

    If ignorance is bliss then james Mathew must be one of the happiest people on earth. Westwood has had 10 top tens this year, 9 of which are top fives including 3rd in the masters, 10th in US open and two top fives in the play-offs. All of these detailed happened in the last 6 months (as 7 of the top tens) and none of them happened in Asia!

  • Comment number 87.

    #82 RORY HALVED his match in the last ryder cup. He got up and down from the bunker!

    Educated yourself!

  • Comment number 88.

    Iain showing again that the press simply do not like Faldo. How many ryder cups did Faldo play in compared to you Iain? He has been there & knows the emotions players go through & how tiring the week is. By telling Lee half way through is 4 ball match I would have thought would motivate him to throw all his energy into winning that game. At the same time conserving energy for the singles. He probably thought he needed it as he wasn't playing his best. Crass timing? No. Did it pay off? No, but you do what you think is right at the time.

  • Comment number 89.

    I just got a message from Lee Westwood;

    "Oh dear jamesmathew, you got hosed, YOU should retire"

    Wow.

  • Comment number 90.

    I think there will be some surprising pairings this week, but I do hope we get to see Rory & Colsaerts take on Bubba & Dustin in the 4BBB - what a feast that would be!

  • Comment number 91.

    88- A case of history being written by winners, re: Faldo and the assessment of how he did as Captain

    I can recall both Langer and Woosnam getting quite a bit of stick from the press prior to their Ryder Cups as Captain. Langer was considered to be 'too cold/authroitarian' and was accused of being out of touch with the players. Woosnam took alot of stick for not picking then in-form Thomas Bjorn and picking an out-of-sorts Lee Westwood. They get forgotten about now because Europe won- Langer got hailed as a 'genius' for selcting Monty as pick for chrissakes (surely that was the biggest no-brainer ever?) whilst the Weestwood gamble came off in 2006 too.

  • Comment number 92.

    #91 - I seem to recall Faldo taking much stick for picking Poulter over Monty... The press conveniently forgot that and just gave Sir Nick another kicking for his leadership skills

  • Comment number 93.

    @ Jimmy....

    Prediction for this week is;

    USA 15-13 Europe

    Highest points scorers - Stricker & Donald

    Somebody invent a time machine so BMG can go to Sunday evening and see what happens. He can then move up the prediction league !!

  • Comment number 94.

    Faldo was by far the worst captain in the history of the ryder cup. The guy had no vice captains (if he had he didnt use them). He spoke to none of the players...what he said to Lee half way through his round was ridiculous....and because of him being such a loner and individual he is the only captain to have lost the Ryder Cup in the last 13 years!!!! Well done Nick.

  • Comment number 95.

    88 - If as you are suggesting nobody is allowed to offer an opinion on a subject unless that have actually specifically been there themselves then you are effectivly condemning the profession of Journalism to the scrapheap. You are also saying that this whole comments section is meaningless (Making your own post rather ironic).

    Faldo is culpable for mistakes he made, its easy to make these judgements with the benefit of hindsight, and there will have been method and rationale behind the decisions he made that would have made sense at the time, but it doesnt make pointing out the flaws of his captaincy any less true.

  • Comment number 96.

    I think the American crowd will be partisan (it is acceptable to call them that as TtT points out) and there will be prbably some name calling along the way, sledging - I think the term is. As long as it doesn't become offensive and occurs when the players aren't taking their shots, then as a European I would expect it. What the Europeans need to do is take no notice or come back with some comment of their own. The humour of the Europeans will win out.

  • Comment number 97.

    92- faldo got stick for picking Poulter not so much over Monty- who most wer prepared to accept was having a stinker- but over Darren Clarke (who'd won the week before the sides were named)

  • Comment number 98.

    @94. You are entitled to your opinion, but I disagree. Mark James was by far the worse captain in ryder cup history. Not playing his 3 rookies until the singles, whilst at the same time knackering the rest of the team when they knew the US would come hard in the singles is the biggest tactical error by any captain ever.

    @95 Not suggesting that at all, but I am making the point that someone who knows what is like to play in these things & understands the emotions is far better qualified to know when the time is right to tell someone about leaving them out. My point is that the press constantly give Faldo a hard time because they do not like him.

    People talk about his captaincy like they were there & knew what was said.Jumping to conclusions that probably the press have reported.

    Nowhere did I say that the comments section was meaningless or that people are not entitled to there opinion, but I am also entitled to an opinion which is that the press has a blinkered view of the man.

  • Comment number 99.

    where is

  • Comment number 100.

    Wcihis?

 

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