WENTWORTH, United Kingdom, (Pakistan Point News - 30th August, 2016) - Europe's Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke announced England's Lee Westwood, Germany's Martin Kaymer and Thomas Pieters of Belgium as his three wildcards on Tuesday. With rookies taking up five of the nine automatic qualifying places, Clarke had been expected to turn to experienced Ryder Cup campaigners Westwood and Kaymer. Pieters, 24, was picked ahead of Scotland's Russell Knox, having bolstered his case for inclusion with a stunning opening round of 62 alongside Clarke at last week's Made in Denmark tournament.
"It came down to Thomas Pieters and Russell Knox, and the phonecall to Russell was one of the hardest I have ever had to make," Clarke told a press conference at Wentworth. "But given his form, I found it impossible to leave Thomas out." Westwood, 43, will be making his 10th consecutive Ryder Cup appearance. He finished 13th on the world points list, one place above Kaymer. Westwood has not won a tournament since April 2015, but he came joint-second behind compatriot Danny Willett -- one of Clarke's automatic picks -- at this year's Masters. He also recorded four other top-15 finishes. "I'm incredibly proud," said Westwood. "When I look back over my career, the Ryder Cup has provided most of the very special moments. "Myself and Darren are very close and I was very relieved and thrilled to get the pick."