European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke has selected veterans Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer, along with 24-year-old Belgian Thomas Pieters, to complete the team’s roster for next month’s matches at Hazeltine.
The Westwood and Kaymer picks come as little surprise given Europe’s six Ryder Cup rookies set to tee it up in Minnesota.
Westwood, 43, has played in the event nine times, recording 23 points to help his side win on all but two of those occasions. No European player has been on the winning side more than the Englishman. Kaymer, a two-time major champion, has been on three winning Ryder Cup teams, picking up 5.5 total points.
The more debated pick came down to whether Clarke would take Pieters, fresh off of a win in Denmark, or 31-year-old Russell Knox, the No. 20 player in the world and a recent victor at the Travelers Championship. Pieters has the hot hand, finishing second at the Czech Masters and fourth at the Olympics prior to his win at Made in Denmark.
The snub here is definitely Knox. His win at the WGC-HSBC Champions back in November did not count toward his Ryder Cup point total because he wasn’t a European Tour member at that point. It proved to be the difference between automatically qualifying and relying on a captain’s pick, which he didn’t receive. Knox has made nine consecutive cuts on the PGA Tour and has eight top-25 finishes on the season.
Here is the 12-man European roster:
Rafa Cabrera Bello