Westwood relieved as late burst gets him into Ryder Cup side

Phil Casey 06:23 03/09/2014
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Seen it, done it: Westwood made his Ryder Cup debut in 1997.

Lee Westwood admitted he breathed a sigh of relief after being chosen for a Ryder Cup wild card ahead of fellow former world No1 Luke Donald.

Westwood, Stephen Gallacher and Ian Poulter were selected by European captain Paul McGinley for his team to face the United States at Gleneagles at the end of the month, with McGinley admit­ting “glimpses” of form from West­wood edged him ahead of Donald.

“I am obviously delighted, the Ryder Cup has always been a mas­sive thing in my career,” said West­wood, who has made eight con­secutive appearances but suffered a slump in form mid-season after winning the Malaysian Open in April.

“I have played a lot better the last month. Paul asked me to show some form and I think I did so, especially in the final round at Bridgestone (a 63) and then leading after the first round of the PGA Championship as well. I think Paul has picked me for my experience. I have played under eight different captains and pretty much seen all it can throw at you.

“I think the European team just gets harder and harder to make every couple of years. The strength in depth on Tour is phenomenal now. I reckon Luke will be very disappointed, but those are the decisions the captain has to make.

“He goes with his gut feeling. He’s got to be, like he said, very cold in making his decisions and personal relationships can’t come into that he sees right. I have no idea what process Paul went through, but obviously I’m pleased that he picked me.

“But having partnered Luke a couple of times and seen what a good Ryder Cup player he is, I’m obviously disappointed for him and I’m sure he’ll be very disappointed.”

Gallacher, whose uncle Bernard played in the contest eight times and captained Europe in 1991, 1993 and 1995, finished just 1.61 points outside the automatic qualifiers, but impressed McGinley with his performance in the final qualifying event. The 39-year-old Scot carded a closing 65 in the Italian Open on Sunday to finish third, just one shot outside the share of second place which would have been enough to qualify.

“It’s massive for me and my fam­ily,” Gallacher said. “It’s been a goal of mine all my days to get in. My emotions on Sunday were mixed. I was delighted with the way I played and disappointed to not qualify.

“I was up against a lot of good players for the picks and did not really have a clue what was going to happen. It was a long day yesterday, but it was all worth it in the end.”

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