PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Lee Westwood voiced support for the changes to the U.S. Ryder Cup process that were introduced this week – even though he plays for the other team.
Westwood spoke out last year about the airing of “dirty laundry” by the U.S. squad following its loss at Gleneagles, but the Englishman is in favor of the changes that have been made following the Americans’ third consecutive defeat in the biennial matches.
“You can’t keep repeating the same process and expect a different outcome, can you?” Westwood said after a 1-over 71 at the Honda Classic. “You’ve got to make changes, and they’ve made changes, so that’s great – for them.”
Along with the introduction of Davis Love III as the captain in 2016 at Hazeltine, the PGA of America rolled out changes to the selection process on Tuesday. While Tom Watson had three captain’s picks at his disposal in 2014, Love will have four – with one saved for after the season-ending Tour Championship.
The Americans will also have four vice captains, with two chosen as potential future captains. Both changes address areas where Westwood feels the Americans were previously at a disadvantage.
“In the last few years I haven’t seen any bleeding in of captains-to-be by being vice captains,” Westwood said. “I think their selection process where the picks are made too early, after the PGA Championship rather than as near to the Ryder Cup, (doesn’t) do them any good … But they’ve obviously done something to correct them, so it should be an improvement.”
A veteran of nine Ryder Cups, Westwood conceded that the American infrastructure hasn’t been the sole reason for the recent success of Team Europe, which has won six of seven matches since 2002.
“I think they haven’t putted well enough, the whole week, over the last few years,” he said. “I think we’ve putted better, certainly on Sunday.”
Westwood does have one issue – specifically, the name of the 11-man group assembled to carve out a new strategy for the U.S. side.
“Can we call it something other than a task force? A bit dramatic,” he said. “When you’re invading countries, you have a task force. Can we call it a Ryder Cup committee, or something like that? Too dramatic for me.”