Ryder Cup: Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods among wildcard picks | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 05.09.2018
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Ryder Cup: Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods among wildcard picks

European captain Thomas Bjorn has opted for experience by selecting four previous winners, including Sergio Garcia, as his wildcard picks. Bjorn follows the lead of US captain Jim Furyk, who called on Tiger Woods.

Garcia is joined by Ian Poulter, Paul Casey and Henrik Stenson, who have all been involved in multiple winning teams, as the captain's wildcard picks.

While Poulter has found form after missing the 2016 defeat by the United States at Hazeltine, Garcia has struggled in 2018, missing the cut at each of the last five majors.

"All four bring loads of experience, points and know how to win and lose and they will bring plenty of heart," said Bjorn.

British Open champion Francesco Molinari, four-time major winner Rory McIlroy, English trio Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton, Jon Rahm, Alex Noren and Thorbjorn Olesen had already qualified automatically for the event to be held just outside Paris from September 28-30.

Garcia is Europe's 'heartbeat'

The selection of the four veterans as wildcard picks means Belgian Thomas Pieters, who won four points two years ago as a rookie, Rafa Cabrera Bello and the in-form Matt Wallace miss out.

"The one thing about Sergio is that he's the heartbeat of the team. It's like a football team going without their captain, that's what it's like for us," said Bjorn, when explaining his decision to opt for the Spaniard.

It will be the 38-year-old Garcia's ninth Ryder Cup appearance, having been the youngest man to play in the event's history as a 19-year-old in 1999.

"It probably wasn't an easy decision for Thomas Bjorn," admitted Garcia. "He knows what I bring to the team, game-wise and in the team room. It's been a tough year, but I've been working hard and I feel like my game is coming along. I'm now ready to try and help the team win the Ryder Cup back."

Furyk opts for the big two

Wednesday's announcement of the European team comes less than 24 hours after Bjorn's opposite number Jim Furyk named his two highest profile players - Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson - among his captain's picks. Bryson DeChambeau was the other man to receive a wildcard for the US.

Former world number one Woods had already been assured of a Ryder Cup presence after being named as one of Furyk's non-playing vice-captains.

However Woods' form since his return to golf this year has forced a change of plan from Furyk, as his side attempt to retain the trophy for the first time since 1993.

mp/ (DPA, Reuters)

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