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Westwood Struggling As Ryder Cup Looms

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Once again, Lee Westwood defends this week at the Volvo Scandinavian Masters, site of the fourth of his five wins on the 2000 European Tour schedule.
 
However, the 28-year-old enters the Barseback Golf and County Club a decidedly different player this time around than he was a year ago.
 
The Englishman who dominated European golf in 2000 and took the Volvo Order of Merit title has been nowhere to be found.
 
Instead is a man who has played only 11 times this year on European soil, and in those appearances, has missed four cuts and only recorded two top-10 finishes.
 
While he did not play in the Masters Tournament due to the birth of his first child, he missed the cut at the U.S. Open and finished in a tie for 47th at the British Open.
 
Last week, Westwood shot rounds of 74-76 to miss the cut at the TNT Dutch Open.
 
His lack of form could be due to the new responsibilities of fatherhood, but clearly he is not the player he was last season ' he has only shot nine rounds under 70 thus far.
 
Westwood still remains in good position to make the Ryder Cup team, however, based largely on his fabulous play last year. At No. 5 on the list through last weeks event, he will most likely be traveling to the Belfry.
 
Others in the field this week will be putting forth their best efforts to crack the top-10 for automatic exemption onto the team. Andrew Oldcorn and Ian Woosnam are a respective 14th and 15th on the list, and have displayed fine form this year.
 
Colin Montgomerie has also been playing better in recent times, and at No. 8 on the list, he will be gunning hard down this last stretch of golf.
 
Yet Darren Clarke and Pierre Fulke can afford to lose some ground should they not bring their best games to Barseback this week. Fulke is currently the No. 4 seed, while Clarke tops the long list by nearly 400 points.