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Westwood likes what Olazabal brings to Euro squad

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MEDINAH, Ill. – Lee Westwood is the elder statesman of the European Ryder Cup, turning his nose up when being introduced Wednesday as the most “tenured” of the group.

This marks Westwood’s eighth Ryder Cup and Jose Maria Olazabal is his eighth different captain.

“I’ve experienced more than any other player I think in Ryder Cup history, different captains at different Ryder Cups, and seen the way different captains do it,” Westwood said Wednesday at Medinah.

Westwood, 39, likes what he sees from Olazabal so far.

“If you set the Ryder Cup captain thing aside, I just think he’s a really great fella,” Westwood said. “He’s a good, solid man. He’s honest. He’ll tell you what he thinks. He’s calculated.”

“Then you bring into it his passion and his flair, I guess a bit of the Spanish influence there. He’s the all-around package.”

In Westwood’s time on the team – he’s collected a 16-11-6 career record – he seen numerous strategies on course layout.

U.S. captain Davis Love III opted to trim the rough this week at Medinah, prompting some to compare it with the famous “second cut” at Augusta National each year at The Masters. Love’s thinking is that it’ll lead to more birdies and more excitement.

Westwood agrees with that notion and doesn’t think that the course favors one team more than the other. In fact, he remembers a time when the Europeans set up a course the same way, believing that it favored them.

“I’ve played here (in the U.S.) pretty much all year and I haven’t seen a golf course that’s had no rough and no rough around the greens,” Westwood said. “I would say that the last time I played a golf course set up like this with no rough around the greens and no rough down the side of the fairways was The Belfrey in 2002, and we set that up for ourselves.”