Europe’s team to defend the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine in September will contain at least five rookies after the nine automatic qualifiers were decided with a week to spare.
Thomas Pieter’s needed to defend his Czech Master title, while Ireland’s Shane Lowry required a top four finish to keep their hopes alive heading into the final PGA event in Denmark. Pieter’s lost by a single shot on Sunday and Lowry was certain to finish down the field as he only managed to shoot a 67 in North Carolina.
This means that Rory McIlroy, Danny Willett, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, Chris Wood, Justin Rose, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Andy Sullivan and Matthew Fitzpatrick are all guaranteed spots on the plane to Minnesota next month in search of an unprecedented fourth straight win. Cabrera-Bello, Willett, Wood, Sullivan and Fitzpatrick are the rookies, although Willett and Wood have won the Masters and BMW PGA Championship respectively.
Darren Clarke will name his three wild cards on the 30th of August with Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer strong favourites to get a place on the team. Russell Knox from Scotland and Pieter’s will surely battle it out for the final place, which would mean Irish pair Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell would miss out.