Westwood: Woods could have 'adverse effect' as assistant

RSS

With the Ryder Cup now only a week away, the verbal sparring between the two sides has been initiated by England's Lee Westwood.

Westwood was added as a captain's pick last month by European skipper Darren Clarke, and he will be making his 10th straight appearance in the biennial matches at Hazeltine. The veteran has seen both the highs and lows offered by the event, and he believes that the American squad will begin as favorites despite a recent European run that includes six wins in seven attempts since 2002.

"They have got this task force in place, they are obviously being very serious and doing as much as they can to win the cup back," Westwood told ESPN.co.uk. "There is a lot of pressure on them."

Westwood also theorized about the impact Tiger Woods will have on next week's matches. Woods has not played in a Ryder Cup since 2012 and has not played competitively in more than a year, but he will serve as an assistant captain for the first time alongside Tom Lehman, Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk.

While Woods dominated his competition for nearly 20 years, his lone appearance on a victorious Ryder Cup team came back in 1999. Westwood has been on all six European winners since then, and he offered up some bulletin-board material about the former world No. 1.

"I don't know what impact there will be from having Tiger around. They have always struggled to find a partner for Tiger that's been successful," he said. "He could have an adverse effect in the team room. People have always seemed to try to do too much when they have partnered (with) him. It might be different if he's one of the vice captains - you don't know."