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Shane Bacon

Will Lee Westwood be ready for the Ryder Cup?

Shane Bacon
Devil Ball Golf

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He is the leader in both world Ryder Cup points and European points. He has finished second, tied for 16th, and second in the three major championships he entered this season. He has three top fours in the last four events he completed, including a win.

Even with all that, Lee Westwood, the veteran presence for Colin Montgomerie's Ryder Cup squad, is the biggest question mark of them all. No, not because of his play this season, but because of injury that has sidelined him since the middle of the Bridgestone Invitational, when he had to withdraw because of a nagging calf injury.

He hasn't teed it up since the first of August, and admitted to The Golf Channel's Rich Lerner that this Wednesday was the first time he's played 18 holes since the injury.

While that might be the negative, it seems fitness has been his focus during his rehabilitation. Westwood said he hasn't had a drink in four weeks, and has lost 12 pounds, working out routinely while rehabbing. While that will be great for the way Westwood looks in a European outfit come the first of October, it doesn't change the fact that he will be rusty at best when the matches kick off.

So, the simple question is this: What does Captain Colin do with Westwood? The easy thing to say is that he will be fine when the matches roll around, because he's playing in a two-day charity event in Scotland to try and replicate how the Ryder Cup will feel, but it still isn't real competition, and he still isn't at the same level all the other guys are when they get off the airplane at Celtic Manor.

People around Camp Lee have been quiet on the state of his game and health, and even though he keeps preaching that he feels fine, being pain-free for three weeks, it is still a huge concern.

Face it, the strong Europeans are far less intimidating without Westwood in the lineup. The team is sporting six rookies, and needs someone with seven Ryder Cups under his belt to help them along in the early stages. He means more to this team than an able body; he is the type of guy that can make it or lose it for Monty and the crew.

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