sport

Euro stars have double goal

Graeme McDowell and Lee Westwood will both have the Ryder Cup in mind when they tee off in the US PGA Championship.

The duo are desperate to make the European team for September's showdown at Gleneagles and know a big performance in the year's final major could secure their spots.

To triumph at Valhalla this week, they'll need to get the better of the par 71 course in Kentucky and also new world No 1 Rory McIlroy, who goes into the event on the back of superb victories in The Open Championship at Hoylake and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio on his last two starts.

McDowell is well aware of the task ahead.

\"He's the best player in the world, currently," said McDowell of his fellow Northern Irishman. "You can't set out trying to beat him this week, you can only hope to go down the stretch on Sunday afternoon and hopefully I can be there and give it a shot."

Westwood concurs that McIlroy will be hard to beat.

\"He's won more majors than any of the other new lads on the block and he seems more consistent and, technically, he seems better than most as well so there's not too many idiosyncrasies in his swing that can go wrong,\" said the Englishman.

As well as trying to win his first major, Westwood is also hunting Ryder Cup points.

He showed signs of a return to form at Firestone last week when he closed what looked set to be a modest tournament by shooting a sparkling final round 63 to make the top 20.

Westwood said: \"It's the last chance to win a major this year. It's an opportunity to hopefully build on what I started last week and keep playing well. It's about time I started playing well again.\"

McDowell, meanwhile, looks to be peaking at just the right time after winning the French Open last month, finishing ninth in The Open at Hoylake and warming up for Valhalla with a top 10 at Firestone on Sunday.

However, the 2010 US Open champion isn't presuming he's already done enough to make Paul McGinley's team just yet.

\"It looked like I'd maybe left it a little late but thankfully I've played really well the last couple of months and got myself in great shape going forward,\" said McDowell.

\"No-one's a lock, let's be honest, there's lots of things that can happen between now and the team being picked.\"