Golf

Lee Westwood rules himself out of running for 2023 European Ryder Cup captaincy

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British golfer Lee Westwood has ruled himself out of the running to be named the next Ryder Cup captain of Team Europe. The 48-year-old was considered to be one of the leading contenders to succeed Padraig Harrington for the 2023 edition of the biennial tournament. 

On home soil, Team Europe will be looking to reclaim the trophy they lost to America by a record 19-9 score, the largest margin of victory in the modern history of the event. 

Westwood has decided to prioritise his playing career and is eyeing individual glory. 

However, the Englishman is refusing to rule out making a record 12th appearance as a player at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in two years time. 

Westwood remarkably became the oldest player to ever qualify for a Ryder Cup team on merit and has been performing exceptionally well since dropping outside the world’s top 100 in 2018.

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“Of course it is not a decision I’ve taken lightly as it would be a huge honour to captain Europe and it is something I’d love to do one day,” Westwood told The Telegraph.

“But it’s almost a full-time job nowadays and that is something I can’t commit to while I’m in the top 50 (in the world) and still competitive.

“The Ryder Cup is very close to my heart and I would only take on the role if I believe I could give it 100 per cent.

“Whoever gets the job for Rome will obviously have my full backing and I’ll continue to do all I can for the Europe cause, as I’ve always tried to since my debut 24 years ago.”

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The veteran is currently world number 38 with six other European players ranked higher than him.

Europe has only appointed two active golfers as captain while they were still in the world’s top 50, with both Seve Ballesteros and Bernhard Langer helpless as their form dropped dramatically ahead of their tournaments in charge.

With Westwood out of contention following his comments, Luke Donald, Henrik Stenson, Robert Karlsson and Graeme McDowell will likely all be considered for the role. 

All four men have experience as vice-captains in recent editions of the tournament.

McDowell has previously said he would like to captain the side at Adare Manor in County Limerick, Ireland in 2027.

The 2025 Ryder Cup, which follows on from the 2023 edition in Italy, will be held in Famingdale, New York. 

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