Lee Westwood would relish the chance to play in 11th Ryder Cup next year
Lee Westwood: "If I qualify for the Ryder Cup team then I'm clearly still good enough, and you know, that's the way I'm going to play it. I can still turn up to the biggest tournaments and compete"
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 14/12/20 6:38am
Lee Westwood has set his sights on making an 11th appearance in the Ryder Cup next year after snatching the Race to Dubai title away from Patrick Reed.
Westwood defied a back injury which almost forced him to pull out of the DP World Tour Championship, firing a final-round 68 to clinch outright second behind Matt Fitzpatrick as Reed faltered down the stretch.
The 47-year-old birdied two of the last three holes before Reed bogeyed 16 and 17, and he was unable to find the eagle he needed at the last to become the first American to win the Race to Dubai.
Westwood, first crowned European No 1 20 years ago, was an assistant captain to Thomas Bjorn at the 2018 Ryder Cup and was widely expected to perform the same role under Padraig Harrington at Whistling Straits next September.
But he is now determined to be inside the ropes rather than directing operations from the sidelines, and he would relish the chance to have a shot at surpassing Sergio Garcia as Europe's all-time record points scorer.
"I'd love to play the Ryder Cup again obviously," said Westwood, who has 23 points from his 10 previous appearances. "It beats watching. There's obviously a lot less pressure watching the lads being vice-captain.
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"If I qualify for the team then I'm clearly good enough, and you know, that's the way I'm going to play it. I can still turn up to the biggest tournaments and compete as I proved at the start of the year in Abu Dhabi, and at the US Open, where I bogeyed the last two holes, and if I hadn't, I'd have finished fifth, and here.
"So I'm not going to say it's one of my goals for next year because you should never make Ryder Cup one of your goals. You should break it down to try and play well each tournament. But I could see it happening."
Westwood insists he still has the motivation and desire to compete at the highest level, continuing to work hard both on and off the golf course in a bid to extend his playing career for as long as possible.
"The motivation has never changed, really," he added. "I get to get up each day and do the job I love. I've always wanted to be a golfer, and I don't want it to end.
"So I'm prepared to keep working hard and put myself in the line of fire and try and get into contention in tournaments. It's where I'm most comfortable and what I love doing.
"I love the work away from the course and the gym and on the range, the hard work that people don't see, I love that, so I don't need to motivate myself very often."
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Westwood also paid tribute to European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley for overseeing a successful post-lockdown return to competitive golf, with 23 events taking place since July in addition to the three majors and the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational.
"I sit on the Players' Committee, as well, and all the players are immensely proud of the job that Keith and his team has done with the Tour," Westwood said.
"It didn't look good for a period of time there, but we played every week pretty much, I think Keith said 27 tournaments since the restart, so that's a phenomenal achievement with what's going on to get those tournaments on.
"We still have to come to tournaments and go through all the protocols and wear masks in certain places, and we're not allowed to be with people who we want to be with; we're all in these bubbles.
"So to take all those different kind of things into consideration, to actually play tournaments and play a full tour this year has been an incredible job by everybody at the Tour, and Keith deserves a pat on the back."