Westwood, Kaymer, Pieters get captain's picks for Ryder Cup

Carla Harmon
August 30, 2016

The Dungannon man has named England's Lee Westwood, Germany's Martin Kaymer and Belgian Thomas Pieters as his three captain's selections for the event.

Famously described the Ryder Cup as "an exhibition" the year before making his debut in 2010, but has changed his opinion since the narrow victories at Celtic Manor and Medinah, where he beat Keegan Bradley in the singles despite only arriving at the course with minutes to spare.

IL golf alumnus Thomas Pieters was named one of the final three players added to the 2016 European Ryder Cup Team.

The 12-strong team has been rounded out with the inclusion of Clarke's three wildcards. In addition to Donald, the list is expected to include Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood.

Knox would have qualified if he had been a European Tour member when he won the WGC-HSBC Champions last November and boosted his case by adding the Travelers Championship earlier this month.

That win in Denmark was his third on the European Tour over the past year, and part of a rich vein of August form in which he also finished second in the Czech Masters and fourth in the Olympics.

"I was going to look toward experience", Clarke said.

Pieters added in his press conference: " He (Clarke) has got plenty of good players to pick from, so if he doesn't pick me, then so be it and I'll work my butt off to get there in the next one. "It's not just about the playing; it's about the team room and the dynamics and everything that's involved".

The talent that they all possess, I have no worries at all about the strength of that team. That made Lee and Martin obvious choices.

"But the last one was so hard".

Knox was nailed on for the third spot - until Pieters went into overdrive. It was probably one of the toughest calls I've had to make. Russell has played unbelievably well over the qualification period.

"Some people would say he deserved a position on the team".

"He got a lot of guys he wanted and has the luxury of picking players who are hot and veterans". To win last week in the fashion that he did was so impressive.

"Thomas knew exactly why I was playing with him", Clarke said.

Team USA will be captained by Davis Love III. I had to phone Russell and tell him yesterday. "But if I was Darren, I'd be looking hard at him, yeah". Pieters was grouped with Clarke for the first two rounds.

Clarke said he recently set up a WhatsApp group with his vice-captains regarding the captain's picks. The world number 20 finished 10 in qualifying ahead by 0.04 from Belgian Pieters. Only Nick Faldo with 25 has contributed more than his fellow Englishman's 23.

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