Chris DiMarco's comments about Ryder Cup "hatred" have been dismissed by Lee Westwood.

Before sinking the winning putt in last week's Presidents Cup match against Gary Player's International side, American player DiMarco spoke on television about how much fun the event was and that "it doesn't have the hatred of the Ryder Cup".

Tiger Woods also spoke in glowing terms of the contest between the Americans and a non-European rest of the world side, saying it was like the Ryder Cup "before it got out of control".

Last November, England's Paul Casey found himself under fierce criticism for saying in a newspaper interview that "we properly hate the Americans".

Other Europeans quickly distanced themselves from that remark and Westwood was surprised to hear DiMarco raise the issue again.

The former European No 1, who tries this week to win a second Dunhill links championship in Scotland, said: "How a veteran of one Ryder Cup can say that, I don't know. So it's beyond me.

"If you thought last time was bad in Detroit he should have been in Boston, shouldn't he?"

Westwood was part of the 1999 European team at Brookline which was badly heckled and in both of the matches since then there has been an attempt by both teams and their captains to take some of the heat out of the contest.

"It doesn't exist - there is no hatred in the Ryder Cup," he added.

"I can only speak for myself. It's just very, very competitive and you want to beat your partners, but at the end of the day I think that anybody that plays in the Ryder Cup I could have sat down with and had a beer."

Next September's match is at the K Club near Dublin and captains Ian Woosnam and Tom Lehman - a controversial figure himself, of course, for his premature celebrations of America's win in Boston six years ago - have both expressed the hope that the games will be played in the right spirit.

"I thought the last Ryder Cup was and the one at The Belfry," said Westwood.

"I think everybody has learned from Boston, so to drag it on like they did when it doesn't exist made no sense to me.

"I don't mind a bit of fistpumping. That's fine. I have no objections to passion being shown. That's not what we're talking about, is it? We'll treat it with the right kind of spirit - and we're very, very passionate about it."

Colin Montgomerie, meanwhile, has had a little bit of fun at the Americans' expense.

He said: "Now they have the Presidents Cup, the Solheim Cup and the Walker Cup it gives them an incentive to win the Ryder Cup and we wish them well!

"Well, we do. It could be a competition. The last one wasn't, was it? So we hope it is a close competition, which would be great."

Europe won the last match, of course, by a record-breaking nine-point margin, with Montgomerie sinking the winning putt.

The Scot returns this week to the scene of his secondplaced finish in the Open in July and would love to go one better.

It would serve a dual purpose by putting him into contention for an eighth Order of Merit title and taking him ahead in the Ryder Cup points race.

Michael Campbell, Retief Goosen and Angel Cabrera, the three players above him on the money list, are all absentees.

On DiMarco's comments, Montgomerie said: "That's a big thing to say for his rookie year, a big thing to say.

"It hasn't been a problem since 1999. That was a problem, we all know, but the last two haven't been at all and there is no reason to think there should be a problem time."

Celebrities galore is what makes this week different to other European tour events, with every professional having an amateur partner for the first three days at least.

And those celebrities come from all walks of life.

Montgomerie partners Hollywood star Michael Douglas, while the list includes a former American vicepresident, an ex-Portuguese Prime Minister, a member of the Spanish Royal Family and even the current Mongolian Foreign Minister. Namely: Dan Quayle, Francisco Pinto Balsemao, Beltran Gomez-Acebo y de Borbon - nephew of King Juan Carlos - and Munkh-Orgil Tsend.

Among the much more familiar names and faces to the fans will be cricketers Michael Vaughan, Andrew

Strauss, Ian Botham and Steve Waugh, former Wimbledon tennis champion Boris Becker, football legends Bobby Charlton, Kenny Dalglish, Johan Cruyff and Ruud Gullit, and Olympic goldmedallists Sir Steve Redgrave, Matthew Pinsent and Jonathan Edwards.

Padraig Harrington won both the individual title and the team crown with Irish businessman and racehorse owner J P McManus three years ago and they are partners again.

"This is a fun week - until you play well," said Harrington. "If you play well then it gets very serious. It's a funny week, too. With three golf courses it's hard to prepare, so that leads to a certain bit of the unknown."

Although he has had two wins in America this year, Harrington stands 50th on the European Order of Merit and has not had a top-ten finish on the circuit since the Irish Open in May.

Woosnam, who partners close friend Botham, would be delighted to see the Dubliner - second, second, third and third on the money list the last four years - show a return to form.

"I am hopeful rather than expectant," said Harrington of his prospects for the week.