By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
MEDINAH, Ill. -- A course that was new to him with fast, undulating greens doomed Lee Westwood last week.
The accomplished Englishman shot 15 over at East Lake and finished dead last at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola -- which was not exactly the performance Westwood had hoped for on the eve of his eighth Ryder Cup.
The world No. 4, who was competing in the FedExCup Playoffs for the first time, said he got over par early in the finale and things just started to snowball. And with a $10 million prize at the end of the FedExCup rainbow on offer to the winner on Sunday, Westwood acknowledged he might have gotten too aggressive at times.
That said, he wasn’t too concerned.
"It was just like a slow dribble of bogeys rather than hitting if off-line too often," Westwood said. ""My game wasn't that bad. Just one of those weeks. I'm old enough now to be able to put them out of my mind and be able to refocus. ..
"And it's the Ryder Cup. If you can't get up for this one, you're going to struggle to get up for anything."
Westwood, who has a 16-11-6 Ryder Cup record, wasted precious little time getting back in the flow of things at Medinah when he teamed with Luke Donald in Tuesday's practice round to beat Ian Poulter and Justin Rose.
Westwood and Donald have history together – beating Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker 6 and 5 in Four-balls during the 2010 Ryder Cup. Poulter and Rose played three matches together in 2008 and went 2-1.
"We came out fast, and we were just way too good for Ian and Justin," Westwood said with a grin. "And they are a lot lighter this morning in their pockets."
"It's always pleasing when you're able to take cash out of Poulter's wallet," Donald agreed. "A few moths fell out at the same time but it was fun. We both played well. We made a bunch of birdies together and again, who knows if we'll play together but we certainly have a good chemistry between us."
According to Poulter's twitter account, Westwood and Donald shot 13 under as a team.
"We got absolutely trounced," Poulter said on Wednesday during his pre-tournament interview. "So that was not much fun when you pop into the ATM machine."