Ryder Cup 2016: Picks of Westwood, Kaymer, Pieters Finalize European Team

August 30, 2016
RC 10.jpg

Two Ryder Cup veterans and a recent winner will round out Darren Clarke’s Ryder Cup team.

During a press conference from Wentworth broadcast live on Golf Channel, the European Ryder Cup captain tapped Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Thomas Pieters to complete his 12-man team that will take on the Americans at Hazeltine National from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2.

The picks of Westwood and Kaymer give the Europeans a much-needed veteran presence. Five of the team’s nine automatic qualifiers will make their Ryder Cup debuts this fall, and Pieters’ pick means half the roster will be Ryder Cup rookies.

“In Lee and Martin I’ve got two of the former No. 1s, and they bring a wealth of experience to the team,” Clarke said. “It’s just not about playing but it’s about the team room and the dynamics and everything involved. With Lee and Martin they were two pretty obvious choices for him, but the last (pick) was very difficult.”

VAN SICKLE: Are the Europeans Underdogs? No Way!

Westwood will make his 10th Ryder Cup appearance — only Nick Faldo (11) has more — and has been a mainstay on Europe’s roster since 1997. He also owns a 20-15-6 all-time record, just three wins shy of Faldo’s all-time mark of 23. Kaymer, who will play in his fourth straight Ryder Cup, is 4-3-3 overall.

With the picks, Clarke bypassed two of the next-three highest golfers outside of automatic qualifying — Russell Knox and Soren Kjeldsen — to get to Kaymer and Westwood. Pieters, 24, who won the Made in Denmark tournament on Sunday, was one spot behind Knox on the world points list. Knox won twice this year but was still edged by Pieters.

“It was probably one of the toughest phone calls I have ever had to make (calling Knox),” Clarke said.

The trio joins Rory McIlroy, Danny Willett, Henrik Stenson, Chris Wood, Sergio Garcia, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Justin Rose, Andy Sullivan and Matthew Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick locked up the last of the nine automatic qualifying spots two weeks ago.

While the Europeans have their roster finalized, Davis Love III and the Americans are only two-thirds of the way there. The U.S. squad’s eight automatic qualifiers were cemented on Sunday, and Love will make three captain’s picks on Sept. 12 following the BMW Championship. His final pick is on Sept. 25 at the conclusion of the Tour Championship, just days before the Ryder Cup begins.

Check out the complete European team below.

Rory McIlroy

European Points List Rank: 1
World Rank: 5
Ryder Cup Record: 6-4-4

Danny Willett

European Points List Rank: 2
World Rank: 11
Ryder Cup Record: N/A

Henrik Stenson

European Points List Rank: 3
World Rank: 4
Ryder Cup Record: 5-4-2

Chris Wood

European Points List Rank: 4
World Rank: 28
Ryder Cup Record: N/A

Sergio Garcia

World Points List Rank: 4
World Rank: 12
Ryder Cup Record: 18-9-5

Rafa Cabrera Bello

World Points List Rank: 5
World Rank: 27
Ryder Cup Record: N/A

Justin Rose

World Points List Rank: 6
World Rank: 10
Ryder Cup Record: 9-3-2

Andy Sullivan

World Points List Rank: 8
World Rank: 42
Ryder Cup Record: N/A

Matthew Fitzpatrick

World Points List Rank: 9
World Rank: 48
Ryder Cup Record: N/A

Lee Westwood *Captain’s Pick

World Points List Rank: 14
World Rank: 46
Ryder Cup Record: 20-15-6

Martin Kaymer *Captain’s Pick

World Points List Rank: 13
World Rank: 50
Ryder Cup Record: 4-3-3

Thomas Pieters *Captain’s Pick

World Points List Rank: 11
World Rank: 41
Ryder Cup Record: N/A