The final automatic Ryder Cup list has been completed...
Rory McIlroy, Danny Willett, Henrik Stenson and Chris Wood earned spots through the money list, while Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Andy Sullivan and Fitzpatrick earned the points places.
Europe will have five Ryder Cup rookies: Willett, Wood, Cabrera Bello, Sullivan and Fitzpatrick. With that in mind I am expecting Captain Clarke to look for players who are battle hardened in the heat of this unique contest.
Players like his big mate Lee Westwood and the man that doesn’t feel pressure - Martin Kaymer. The third pick though, that’s tough.
The GCW faithful will cry out for Beef (as will my editor I’m sure), but can Clarke really pick a sixth rookie?
Garcia/McIlroy and Rose/Stenson would be pairings that we should be crying out to see again, but with more rookies to partner up than any captain in recent years would have had to do, Clarke is in a tough situation.
Deep down he’ll be desperate for an old hand to find some form in the next few weeks. G-Mac and Luke Donald have made the beginnings of a strong case at the Wyndham and Clarke will be keen to see that continue.
The European Team will feature two of the current Major champs in Danny Willett (Master’s) and Henrik Stenson (Open) as well as the Gold medal winner from Rio, Justin Rose. But Fitzpatrick has been vocal about his struggles recently, Andy Sullivan’s game has cooled and Rafa Cabrera-Bello’s has only one top-5 in the last 5 months (Open de France).
The truth is that any captain can hide a player or two across the weekend. The fitness of the modern pro means that 36 holes a day isn’t an issue.
Europe’s team will have many familiar faces in McIlroy, Rose, Stenson and Garcia but they’ll be joined by a host of Ryder Cup fresh faces in Sullivan, Willett and Fitzpatrick.
If you only tune into watch golf for the partisan contest every other year, then you’ll be forgiven for your worry. But for those of us that watch these boy’s week in, week out there will be confidence that Europe can make it four in a row.
Clarke will be confident that these boys will taste this unique atmosphere for the first time and it’ll fire them back to top form and he will ride that wave to a pretty substantial party on the Sunday night, to a piece of golfing history.
Don’t under estimate how big an achievement a European victory would be – not since the dark days of the 70’s, when this was not a contest, have any team won four in a row!
Who do you think Captain Clarke's picks should be?
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