It has been a difficult week for European Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam. The headache of having to select his two captain’s picks last Sunday brought with it some vehement criticism of his communication skills and selection policy, not least from the rejected Dane Thomas Bjorn. Now one of the men that Woosnam picked, England’s Lee Westwood, has rushed to defend his skipper and offer thanks for the opportunity to play against the USA at the K Club later this month.
Bjorn has been fined for his outspoken and very personal comments against Woosnam following the decision by the Welshman to overlook him in favour of Westwood and Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke. Bjorn’s disappointment stemmed from the fact that he was ahead of Woosnam and Clarke in both the Official Golf World Rankings and also the European Ryder Cup qualification table, while he also spoke out against Woosnam’s handling of the whole situation – claiming that he has consistently failed to stay in regular contact with his players.
“It doesn’t matter whether or not anyone thinks I deserve to picked,” said Westwood (pictured).
“Ian Woosnam thinks that I do and he’s the captain – he picks the team and he has a plan. All I will say is that everyone is entitled to their opinion. I think it’s quite clear what Thomas’ opinion is and that’s the end of the matter as far as I’m concerned. Ian Woosnam has a very difficult job and it’s impossible to please everyone. I’m just looking forward to being involved at the K Club.”
Westwood went on to dismiss claims that the US team would be pushovers but also said that in his opinion the European squad is stronger than in 2004, when they inflicted a record defeat on the Americans in their own backyard at Oakland Hills.
“Some people have said that the US team is not strong, but anyone who qualifies for their team is a world class player,” he said.
“However, I do think that the European team is the strongest that I’ve ever seen. There is a great balance of youth and experience. Most of the team have played at the K Club before and have good knowledge of the course. I think we have a great chance to win again.”