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Clarke confirms wildcard picks for Hazeltine

(Photo by Getty Images)

(Photo by Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images)

Skipper Darren Clarke has confirmed Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Thomas Pieters as his three wildcard picks for the Ryder Cup.

The Northern Irishman announced the news on Tuesday at Wentworth and his decision sees the experienced duo of Westwood and Kaymer play in their 10th and fourth consecutive editions of the biennial event.

Pieters, in contrast, is set for his debut and becomes the sixth European rookie to make the team for Hazeltine along with Danny Willett, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Chris Wood, Andy Sullivan and Matthew Fitzpatrick.

Luke Donald and Russell Knox were the other contenders to be given the nod alongside heavy favourites Westwood and Kaymer but Clarke instead opted for Pieters following his win over the weekend at the Made in Denmark.

The Belgian shot a 62 while playing alongside Clarke at Himmerland and the captain is confident that all three picks will prove to be huge assets to the team come September 30.

Clarke told a press conference: “In Lee Westwood I’ve got one of the most experienced ‘Ryder Cuppers’ of all time. This will be his 10th appearance. He’s played well this year, he was runner-up at Augusta and week in, week out he has been very solid.

“Martin Kaymer has had six top-10s in his recent events and is somewhat of a Ryder Cup stalwart.

“Last week I played with him (Pieters) as I have many times over the qualification period. As we teed off on Thursday morning Thomas knew exactly why I was playing with him.”

Clarke added: “Prior to that there was a few other contenders I was thinking about as well, but he went out and played unbelievably and shot 62. I’m very pleased and proud to have someone of Thomas Pieters’ undoubted talent as part of that team.”

European Ryder Cup team in full: Rory McIlroy, Danny Willett, Henrik Stenson, Chris Wood, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Andy Sullivan, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Martin Kaymer, Thomas Pieters and Lee Westwood.

Europe’s team is packed full of talent, but how will the fare in this month’s Hazeltine competition? Online betting sites have the best deals to make you the most money.

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