Ryder Cup veteran Westwood relishing prospect of hostile crowd at Medinah
16:35 GMT, 24 September 2012
Lee Westwood has just about seen and heard it all in his Ryder Cup career – including a man dressed as a ghost leaping out in front of him and shouting 'Boo' right in his face.
That was the last time he played the match in America four years ago and afterwards the Englishman had some harsh things to say about the Louisville crowd.
'He was the one that got ejected, but he was the one that made me laugh,' Westwood said of the ghostly figure. 'All of the abuse that I got was fairly nasty and pretty shameful.
Happy memories: Westwood (right) celebrates Europe's Ryder Cup triumph in 2010
'Some people don't know the difference between supporting their team and abusing the opposition team, which is unfortunate.'
Westwood's experiences also go back to the 'Battle of Brookline' in 1999, when the heckling of Colin Montgomerie and the premature celebrations on the 17th green marred America's victory.
Now he is in Chicago for his eighth successive cap and wondering, like the rest of the European team, what kind of reception they are in for once the match starts on Friday.
'The crowd will be right into it. Chicago is a great sporting town – they get right behind their teams,' said Westwood.
'I don't see it being any different. You know you are against the crowd as well as the US team when you play in the States, but that is what makes it more satisfying when you come out as the winners.'
As he did in Detroit in 2004.
Despair: Westwood looks on as Europe lose in Valhalla in 2008
Listening to teammate Luke Donald, a resident of Chicago since his college days, should ease some of the worries aired by 2010 captain Montgomerie before the two teams arrived in the city on Monday afternoon.
Montgomerie said: 'The world changed after 9/11, but time moves on and I have a slight fear that it is going to be very difficult for us Europeans to perform to our potential.
'Playing in America when they want it (the trophy) back is a difficult place to have to play golf. I do hope everyone realises that and allows the Europeans to play to their potential.
'Unfortunately, on the Sunday of the Ryder Cup in 1999, that wasn't available to us.'
But Donald commented: 'It is a major city like Boston, but I feel like the difference I have found when I've been in Chicago opposed to a place like New York is that they are a little bit friendlier bunch of people.
Homeward bound: Luke Donald lives in Chicago
'We will see what happens. You never know, but hopefully the days of disrespecting the away team are out the window.
'Sure give your team support, but there's no room in this game for being disrespectful.
'I think it has changed. In '99 there weren't too many of us playing in the US – now three-quarters of us are and we are very well-known. I think that helps.'
All of the Americans and five of the Europeans linked up at Medinah after competing at the Tour Championship in Atlanta, an event which saw United States debutant Brandt Snedeker grab the 6million FedEx Cup bonus away from Rory McIlroy and deny Justin Rose the 900,000 tournament first prize.
Donald was third and while Westwood came 30th and last – no fewer than 25 strokes behind Snedeker – he insisted afterwards that 'my game is not far away'.
The Worksop golfer, who has now found a property in Florida for his family to move into during the winter, has gone another season without winning a major, but at 39 he hopes there is still plenty of time to achieve his dreams.
Duck: Westwood is yet to win a major
'I don't get too wound up any more,' he said of his performance last week, which followed a trip back to England.
'I don't think the week off came at a good time either. I was playing well (he came second to Rory McIlroy in the third of the FedEx Cup play-offs), then went home and practised on greens far slower than those in the States.'
Westwood has played two USPGA Championships at Medinah, finishing 16th in 1999 and 29th in 2006, although the first of those is best remembered for him suffering heatstroke and being put on a drip.
Judging by the forecast, the weather should not be a factor this week – unlike Celtic Manor two years ago, of course.
Donald was delighted to be going into his fourth Ryder Cup on the back on two 67s.
'It certainly won't hurt,' he said. 'I wasn't really too worried about my game, it just wasn't quite happening the last three play-off events.
'We're going to have to be aggressive straight from the get-go. I think the Americans play quite an aggressive game, so we are going to have to go out there and get off to a quick start.'