Lowry misses out as Darren Clarke reveals his captain's picks for Ryder Cup

Westwood, Kaymer and Pieters make up Europe’s 12-man team.

Image: Andrew Matthews

AS WAS EXPECTED, Shane Lowry has missed out on selection for next month’s Ryder Cup after European captain Darren Clarke this afternoon announced his three wildcard picks.

Lowry’s hopes of inclusion had faded in recent months and after he’d fallen out of the race to qualify automatically, it was unlikely he would get the nod from Clarke for the Hazeltine showdown.

Rory McIlroy will be the only Irish player involved in the biennial event which takes place between 27 September and 2 October.

The final three places on the European team have gone to Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Belgian rookie Thomas Pieters.

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 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.

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“But, given his form, I found it impossible to leave Thomas out.”

Englishman Westwood is a Ryder Cup stalwart, having appeared in the prestigious competition nine times, losing only twice. Kaymer has won on all three of his appearances to date, holing the decisive putt to defeat Steve Stricker and secure a remarkable comeback for Europe in 2012 in what became dubbed the ‘Miracle of Medina.’

“Lee and Martin were pretty obvious ones,” captain Clarke said of his choices. “The last was very difficult. I’m not going to sit here and say otherwise. Obviously Luke Donald and Graeme McDowell … haven’t been on top of their games.

As for Pieters, the Belgian’s recent form, including finishing fourth at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, sealed his inclusion.

Europe are defending the Ryder Cup after winning the previous edition as hosts at Gleneagles in 2014. They have not lost since the 2008 tournament at Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky.

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Ryan Bailey

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