Clarke Westwood Justify Captains Selection

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36th Ryder Cup MatchesSTRAFFAN, Ireland -- Darren Clarke says he and Lee Westwood were the only people who weren't surprised when they were named to Europe's Ryder Cup team.
 
It all makes sense to everyone now -- especially to the Americans they keep beating.
 
Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood
Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood have a 6-2 Ryder Cup record when paired together.
Selected by captain Ian Woosnam despite their lack of success over the past three years, Clarke and Westwood extended their Ryder Cup partnership streak to four straight victories Saturday, beating Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk 3 and 2 at The K Club.
 
The win gave the Clarke-Westwood tandem, which hasn't lost as a pairing since 1999 at Brookline, a 6-2 Ryder Cup record.
 
'What can you say about Darren and Lee together?' Woosnam said. 'They are writing their own place in Ryder Cup history -- that's six wins in the fourballs and the foursomes.'
 
On Friday, they edged the United States' other powerhouse pairing of Phil Mickelson and Chris DiMarco by one hole.
 
Neither victory was considered an upset.
 
'People said it was a gamble. The only people who thought it was not a gamble were the two of us,' said Clarke, the likable Northern Irishman who counts Woods and Westwood among his many good friends. 'I enjoy playing with Lee because he's good company, and we enjoy playing with each other.'
 
Neither Clarke nor Westwood has won a regular tournament since 2003, and Clarke took time off before and after the death of his 39-year-old wife, Heather, from cancer nearly six weeks ago. Before the team announcement, he hadn't played since July 21 when he missed the cut at the British Open.
 
Earlier this week, Woods was one of the first to give Clarke a welcome-back hug when the teams arrived. On Saturday, he warmly congratulated the European star for his performance, which included a match-clinching chip into the hole at the 16th.
 
Although Clarke and Westwood have justified their selections, the top American golfers -- Woods, Furyk, Mickelson and DiMarco -- have yet to make the impact their captain, Tom Lehman, expected and needed.
 
'Tiger and Jim and Phil and Chris are obviously very strong pairings,' Clarke said. 'But some of us on the European team can play as well. They are strong, but so are we.
 
'In 18 holes of match play, whether it be individual, fourballs or foursomes, anybody can beat anybody. We seem to be able to get ourselves up for those games. Certainly Lee and I yesterday against Phil and Chris and then today against Tiger and Jim -- big games for us -- we rose to the occasion.'
 
Clarke, who had played just one tournament since his self-imposed break from the game, has quickly found his touch. He hit a wedge into 5 feet for birdie on the fourth to put his partnership ahead and that became 2 up when he birdied the fifth.
 
With Woods missing short putts and fairways, the Americans didn't win a hole until the 15th, when the Europeans were already 4 up. It was all over when Clarke chipped in for birdie from behind the 16th green.
 
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