Booze-free Westwood ready for Ryder

ENGLAND’S Lee Westwood insists he is over his injury troubles and ready to spearhead Europe’s quest to reclaim the Ryder Cup next month.

Westwood, the world No3, has not struck a ball competitively since pulling out of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational seven weeks ago.

But Europe’s highest-ranked player is convinced he has recovered from a ruptured calf muscle and will be fit enough to play a full part against the United States at Celtic Manor.

“I haven’t had any pain for three weeks,” said Westwood. “I’ve made great progress. I’m pretty strong at the moment. I’d be fine playing in all five matches [at the Ryder Cup]. I’ve been working with my coach, Pete Cowen, and he says I’m swinging it better than I was before.”

Westwood’s confidence will provide a major boost to the European camp just two weeks before the biennial contest tees off in Wales.

Earlier this week vice-captain Paul McGinley admitted Westwood’s injury had “hurt” their prospects and was the team’s biggest problem.

The Worksop player has also revealed he has cut out alcohol for the past month and lost almost a stone in weight as part of a strict regime to shape up for the competition. “I haven’t had a drink in four weeks and have lost 12lbs since the Open,” Westwood added.

Westwood will step up his comeback by playing in a charity event in Scotland early next week before playing back-to-back rounds on Friday in order to prepare for the competition’s heavy schedule. He said: “I just want to replicate the Ryder Cup with two matches in one day.”