Clarke hands wildcard picks to Westwood, Kaymer and Pieters

2016 European Ryder Cup captain goes for experience and a rookie

Andy Roberts's picture
Tue, 30 Aug 2016

European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke has handed wildcard picks to Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Thomas Pieters.

Clarke, 48, will attempt to skipper the Europeans to a fourth consecutive Ryder Cup victory and seventh in the last eight matches when the Europeans battle the United States at Hazeltine from September 30 to October 2. 

The Northern Irishman's three wildcards join Henrik Stenson, Justin  Rose, Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Andy Sullivan, Chris Wood and Danny Willett. 


"With Lee and Martin they were two pretty obvious choices for me," said Clarke. 

"The last one was very difficult, I'm not going to sit here and say otherwise. I had a few different people in my mind, like Graeme McDowell and Luke Donald.

"Then it came down to the choice between Russell Knox and Thomas Pieters.

"That was an incredibly difficult decision and I have not slept an awful lot, and having to phone Russell was one of the toughest phone calls I have ever had to make."

Thomas Pieters won the Made in Denmark event last week (Photo: Getty Images)

England's Westwood is the epitomy of Ryder Cup experience having played in nine Ryder Cups and boasts an impressive 20-15-6 record (23 points from a possible 41).

Germany's Kaymer, who holed the winning putt at the 'Miracle at Medinah' in 2012, also brings experience to the tablel having played in the last three Ryder Cup matches and owns a solid 4-3-3 record (five and half points from a possible 10). 

Belgium's Pieters is one of six rookies in the European Ryder Cup side but brings with him a stunning run of form comprising of three top-four finishes in his last three starts, highlighted by victory last week in Denmark. 





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