Ryder Cup Europe Team Preview

Jake Cooper | 12 Oct 2016

European captain Paul McGinley has picked a formidable European team for the Ryder Cup, but vows not to underestimate the USA at Gleneagles.

With just a few days before the Ryder Cup 2014 tees off, defending champions Europe start the competition as firm favourites with the bookies. McGinley is determined not to let the side become complacent, commenting, “It is going to be tough, a heavyweight contest toe to toe, right to the very end, like the previous Ryder Cups have been.”

McGinley has picked Englishmen Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood and Scot Stephen Gallagher as the wildcards to join the nine players who qualified for the Ryder Cup side. The team comprises of nine nationalities as well as three players never to have taken part in the competition previously.

The European side will be competing at Gleneagles for their third successive Ryder Cup victory and their fifth in ten years.

 

Europe

 

Paul McGinley – Captain

Age: 47

Turned Pro: 1991

Ryder Cup Caps: 3

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): 2-2-5

McGinley made history as the first Irishman to become captain of a Ryder Cup team. He’s made three playing appearances – 2002, 2004 and 2006 – all of which have been victorious. His most memorable Ryder Cup moment is often said to be when he holed a 10ft putt on the 18th against Jim Furyk in 2002 to secure the match.

 

Thomas Bjorn

Age: 43

Turned Pro: 1993

Ryder Cup Caps: 2

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): 3-2-1

Having played a vice-captain role in both 2010 and 2012, Thomas Bjorn wasn’t expected to participate in this year’s Cup in a playing capacity. However the Dane went out this year and scored highly on both sides of the pond, successfully qualifying for the 2014 European team on points.

 

Jamie Donaldson

Age: 38

Turned Pro: 2000

Ryder Cup Caps: Debut

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): n/a

Pontypridd-born Donaldson has had a busy year earning his place in the team and becomes the first cap for Wales since Phillip Price in 2002 at the Belfry. He sealed his spot in the competition when he claimed the title at the Czech Masters this year.

 

Victor Dubuisson

Age: 24

Turned Pro: 2010

Ryder Cup Caps: Debut

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): n/a

Dubuisson won his first European Tour title last year at the Turkish Open and claimed two second places this year to qualify. The Frenchman is something of an elusive character and is notoriously shy but he’s proved time and again that this doesn’t affect his performance.

 

Stephen Gallacher

Age: 39

Turned Pro: 1995

Ryder Cup Caps: Debut

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): n/a

The Scotsman is expected to perform well at Gleneagles with home support on his side, but has yet to finish in the top 10 of a major. Gallacher has made a remarkable comeback after medical complications left him struggling to play in 2009 and is one of McGinley’s wildcard picks.

 

Sergio Garcia

Age: 34

Turned Pro: 1999

Ryder Cup Caps: 6

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): 16-8-4

The Spanish Ryder Cup veteran has been one of the most consistent players of 2014. He took first place at the Qatar Masters at the beginning of the year and came tied second in this year’s Open Championship at Hoylake.

 

Martin Kaymer

Age: 29

Turned Pro: 2005

Ryder Cup Caps: 2

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): 3-2-1

Martin Kaymer’s wavering career saw a revival after he putted the winning ball in 2012. The German attends the Cup this year as the Players Championship holder and the US Open champion.

 

Graeme McDowell

Age: 35

Turned Pro: 2002

Ryder Cup Caps: 3

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): 5-5-2

Graeme McDowell was Northern Ireland’s Ryder Cup hero in 2010 and returns this year having achieved victory at the French Open in July. McDowell was the final player to take an automatic qualifying spot.

 

Rory McIlroy

Age: 25

Turned Pro: 2007

Ryder Cup Caps: 2

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): 4-3-2

Currently ranked number one in the world, Rory McIlroy comes to this year’s Ryder Cup with three straight wins this summer under his belt, including the Open and US PGA. At just 25 McIlroy is youngest member of the European and already a four-time major winner.

 

Ian Poulter

Age: 34

Turned Pro: 1994

Ryder Cup Caps: 4

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): 12-3-0

Hopes are high for England’s Poulter as he joins the European Ryder Cup team as one of this year’s wildcard picks. Poulter’s 80% success rate makes him one of McGinley’s easiest picks and he hopes that the Brit’s fighting spirit will help to inspire the team to their fifth victory in ten years.

 

Justin Rose

Age: 34

Turned Pro: 1998

Ryder Cup Caps: 2

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): 6-3-0

The 2013 US Open champion comes to this year’s Ryder Cup having won both the PGA Tour Quickens Loan National in June and the European Tour Scottish Open in July.

 

Henrik Stenson

Age: 38

Turned Pro: 1998

Ryder Cup Caps: 2

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): 2-3-2

Having failed to qualify two years ago at Medinah, Stenson struck back and topped the 2013 European rankings. This year the Swede placed fourth at the US Open and third at the US PGA Championship.

 

Lee Westwood

Age: 41

Turned Pro: 1993

Ryder Cup Caps: 8

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): 18-13-6

After a stellar career, this may be one of Lee Westwood’s last opportunities to play in the Ryder Cup but there’s no reason to underestimate the Englishman. Westwood needs just four points at Gleneagles to equal Nick Faldo’s Ryder Cup record of 25.