By Tony Jimenez
CHASKA, Minnesota (Reuters) – Lee Westwood is taking aim at Nick Faldo’s European Ryder Cup points record this week but nothing is more important to the former world number one than team victory, he said on Thursday.
The 43-year-old Englishman, who made his debut in the biennial team event in 1997, needs another two-and-a-half points to surpass Faldo’s tally of 25.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wanted to get past Nick’s record because anybody involved in sport wants to break records,” Westwood told a news conference at Hazeltine National.
“That’s what drives us all on, to be able to say you’re the best at anything, but if you gave me a choice of not winning any points and the Europeans winning the Ryder Cup then that would definitely come first. It’s all about the team this week.”
Westwood, who had two spells at the top of the world rankings in 2010 and 2011, will be making his 10th appearance in the match play competition, one short of equalling Faldo’s record in that category.
He said the Ryder Cup had an atmosphere like no other golf event in the world.
“To represent Europe and the other 11 players on the team, the captain and the tour, to stick the sweater on … it’s a great stage,” explained Westwood, before adding that he even loves the rowdiness of it.
“We were on the range and there was music playing, that’s what golf should be about nowadays. It needs to jazz itself up a bit.
“I certainly wouldn’t worry about a phone going off with the music blaring out. It’s great to come over here and sense the partisanship,” said wildcard selection Westwood.
“It’s only right that the crowds over here are more pro-USA. That’s why when we come over and win, like we did in Chicago (in 2012), you know it’s even more special.”
(Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)