European Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley has chosen Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Stephen Gallacher as his Wildcard Picks for the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland from Friday 26th – Sunday 28th September. That is a perfectly normal English sentence, its significance, however, is much greater than that. This has probably been the most difficult Captain’s Picks for a European Captain ever, given the quality of the players now available and eligible to represent Europe every 2 years at The Ryder Cup.
Ian Poulter was seen as a certainty for a Ryder Cup Wildcard although Paul McGinley did give some hints over the course of the season that he would have to earn a pick if indeed he needed one. He did need one this time around and if he performs anything like he did at Valhalla or Celtic Manor or Medinah then his pick will be well deserved. Poults will be up for this Ryder Cup, as much as he was for all his previous appearances, and expect yet another great performance. He will have a target on his back from the American team and he will be the one the US players want to beat, probably along with World No.1 Rory McIlroy.
Poulter also has a superb Ryder Cup record, winning 12 out of 15 matches including victories in all his Singles matches. The 38 year old Englishman will again relish the opportunity to represent Europe.
Joining Poulter is Ryder Cup veteran Lee Westwood, the 41 year old has played in every staging of the biennial event since 1997 and boasts a record of 18 wins, 6 halves and 13 losses from 37 matches played over the past 17 years. Westwood said of his Wildcard pick: “I’m obviously delighted. The Ryder has always been a massive thing for me and I was delighted to get the call from Paul. It was a long day yesterday but when Paul rang with the good news I was relieved“.
Westy is a good pick based on the level of inexperience in this Ryder Cup squad compared to previous years. The European team is of course full of World Class players competing all over the golfing globe but having Lee in the team will ensure that the younger players have somebody to turn to should things not be going their way, or just for a bit of advice before heading out on the course. Westwood is also a very good partner for pretty much anyone, he tends to fit well with most players and is a very good player himself of course as well!
Completing Captain McGinley’s Wildcard trio is Scotsman Stephen Gallacher who has shown very good form of late. Gallacher’s record at Gleneagles was definitely in the thinking when it came to naming the 3 Captain’s Picks today as it is quite superb – along with earnings of £345,000 in the 14 years the Johnnie Walker Championship has been staged at Gleneagles he has had 7 top-10 finishes including a tie for 6th in 2011 and 2012 along with finishing tied 2nd in 2013. It’s safe the say that Gallacher knows his way around this Scottish course, in 2013 alone he managed to make 4 eagles and 22 birdies so he could be a shoe in for both series of Fourball matches.
All in all European Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley must be a very happy man, his 12 players representing Team Europe are as strong if not the strongest team ever to be assembled to play for the Continent against America. If Europe had a team of 20 players it could be argued there would be no weak link in the slightest so that fact did make it a difficult decision in terms of Wildcard picks, namely who to leave out! Players like Luke Donald, Francesco Molinari and possibly Shane Lowry and Joost Luiten may feel they could have been picked but when you weigh up everything I think Paul McGinley has chosen well, only time will tell of course!!
Roll on tee off on Friday 26th September and the start of The Ryder Cup.