Worksop’s Westwood in bubbly mood
Worksop’s Lee Westwood urged future European Ryder Cup captains to take a leaf from Paul McGinley’s book after the Irishman led the home side to victory at Gleneagles.
Inspired by the performances of Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy, Europe survived an early scare in Sunday’s singles to win by five points and record an eighth victory in the last 10 contests.
And while that statistic prompted Phil Mickelson to call for a reversion to the successful approach of 2008 United States captain Paul Azinger - right in front of losing skipper Tom Watson - Westwood said Europe had no need to make any changes.
“I think Paul got a great template and a model for captains going forward,” said Westwood, who has played under nine different captains and is shown popping a cork in a press conference on instagram (http://instagram.com/p/tgG4ghLhAH/)
“I think you could base your captaincy and your future captain around the way Paul did it this week.”
World number one McIlroy, who publicly lobbied for McGinley to be made captain in January 2013, added: “He has just been the most wonderful captain and I can’t speak highly enough of him.
“From the first day we got here, the speeches that he gave, the videos he showed us, the people that he got in to talk us, the imagery in the team room, it all tied in together; all part of the plan, all for the cause of trying to win this Ryder Cup.
“He was meticulous in his planning. He left no stone unturned. I think I speak on behalf of all the 12 players and just say that he couldn’t have done anything else. He was absolutely fantastic.”
Europe were overwhelming favourites with a 10-6 lead heading into the 12 singles matches, but at one point the United States were ahead in six and threatening their own version of the ‘Miracle at Medinah’.
However, McIlroy was an approximate eight under par in thrashing Rickie Fowler 5&4 to put the first point on the board and fellow Northern Irishman McDowell won five out of six holes from the 10th to recover from three down against Jordan Spieth in the opening match.
With US Open champion Martin Kaymer beating Masters champion Bubba Watson and Rose fighting back from four down after six against Hunter Mahan to claim a half, Europe were within sight of victory and Welshman Jamie Donaldson delivered it in style, hitting his approach to the 15th to within inches of the hole to beat Keegan Bradley 4&3.
That prompted a handshake on the fairway between the captains and the usual curious conclusion as the remaining matches played out, Sergio Garcia beating Jim Furyk, Ian Poulter halving his match with Webb Simpson, Lee Westwood losing to Jimmy Walker and Victor Dubuisson halving with Zach Johnson.