Lee Westwood fancies Ryder Cup captaincy in four years time

Lee Westwood
Lee Westwood
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Worksop’s Lee Westwood has reiterated his desire to captain Europe’s Ryder Cup team in 2020, with a stint as vice-captain in Paris in 2018 a likely stepping stone.

Westwood has not given up hope of playing against the USA for an 11th time, equalling the record of his first Ryder Cup partner Nick Faldo. The 43-year-old also still needs two and a half points to overtake Faldo as Europe’s all-time record points scorer in the biennial contest after failing to win any of his three matches in the defeat at Hazeltine a fortnight ago.

Westwood tried to “wipe the Ryder Cup” out of his mind at last week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, but the former world number one could not avoid questions on the topic ahead of the British Masters, which gets under way at The Grove on Thursday.

“I thought it was a good week. Both teams played well,” said Westwood, who was one of captain Darren Clarke’s three wild cards. “The Americans did to us what we’ve been doing to them for 20 years. They holed a lot of good putts. Not a lot in it tee-to-green. It was a good atmosphere to play in.”

Asked if he still wanted to be European captain at Whistling Straits in 2020, Westwood added: “I think so. I certainly wouldn’t want to be the captain next time around. But 2020 is definitely on my radar. There are a lot of candidates for it but I’ll be putting my name in the ring for sure.”

Westwood went on: “I’ve played on 10 and witnessed 10 different forms of captaincy, so I’m pretty well qualified to be a captain I would have thought. I’ve played a lot in it and I’d like to maybe play again, but if I can’t play again I’d like to do the assistant captain’s role, (see) what goes on behind the scenes, although I paid a lot of attention to what Darren and the assistant captains were doing this year.

“I don’t think necessarily you have to be an assistant captain (before being captain), but it probably helps. Another angle to see it from, more experience.”

England’s Andy Sullivan also failed to win a point at Hazeltine, the 30-year-old losing in the opening foursomes session alongside Rory McIlroy and to Brandt Snedeker in the singles.

“I think it’s one of those things that everyone wants to play five games, which is not going to happen,” Sullivan said. “It’s not plausible to do that.

“Obviously different situations come about and unfortunately it’s one of them situations where we were behind and Darren had to send the team out there that he thought was going to get us in front.

“It’s tough being a captain. You’ve got to make tough decisions and if it had come off we would all be standing here saying Darren is a genius, but it didn’t.

“And we were there as a team, regardless if we play one or two games; we’re there as a team to win as a team. Unfortunately we lost as a team, but we stand shoulder to shoulder as Darren said, and we stand by his decisions.”