Pain-free Westwood eases Ryder Cup doubts

LONDON (Reuters) - World number three Lee Westwood, who has been sidelined by injury for six weeks, has eased fears over his fitness for next month's Ryder Cup.

"I am pretty strong at the moment," the 37-year-old Briton told the Golf Channel. "I would be fine playing in all five matches (at the Ryder Cup).

"I haven't had any pain for three weeks. I've made great progress."

A badly swollen right calf and ankle has kept Westwood out since the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio in early August.

He plans to compete in a two-day charity event in Scotland early next week before playing 36 holes in one day later in the week to guarantee he can withstand two rounds in a day if called upon by European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie.

"I haven't had an (alcoholic) drink in four weeks," said Westwood. "I have lost 12 pounds since the British Open (in July).

"I just want to replicate the Ryder Cup with two matches in one day."

The Englishman, who has played in the biennial team event against the U.S. on six previous occasions, has seven times finished in the top five at a major championship without achieving a breakthrough victory.

If Westwood is fully fit for the showdown with the U.S. holders at Celtic Manor in Wales from October 1-3, Montgomerie will hope he can be the team's talisman.

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)