Ryder Cup: Poulter, Westwood, Gallacher in, but Donald out
European wildcards named by captain Paul McGinley ahead of tournament in Gleneagles
Europe's squad for golf's Ryder Cup tournament later this month has been confirmed after captain Paul McGinley picked Stephen Gallacher, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter as his wild card selections. They will join the nine automatic qualifiers in the 12-man team that will defend the trophy against the USA at Gleneagles.
Gallacher, Poulter and Westwood were the favourites for the three remaining berths and their selection means that other contenders including Luke Donald and Francisco Molinari miss out.
McGinley admitted it has been "a very, very difficult conversation" with Donald, but most observers felt he had made the right choice.
Gallacher's consistent form this season and Poulter's "guaranteed selection due to his past Ryder Cup heroics and status", meant the final decision was "essentially... a battle between Westwood and Donald", says Ewan Murray in The Guardian.
Donald, a former world number one, "was the odd-man out after paying the price for an abject year and no top-25 finishes since April," says Rick Broadbent of The Times. "However, overall, Donald, Westwood and Poulter have all had dismal years. Donald has done little in recent weeks to suggest he merited a place and McGinley deserves credit for putting personal feelings aside for the good of the team."
Gallacher, on the other hand could be one to watch. The 39-year-old Scot missed out on automatic selection by just one shot, when he came third in the Italian Open, and will be making his debut in the tournament. However, his family have pedigree in the competition, he is the nephew of former Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher, and lives just 35 miles from Gleneagles.
"[He] is eminently suited to the PGA Centenary layout having reached a play-off there at last year's Johnnie Walker Championship and finished sixth in the previous two years," says James Corrigan of the Daily Telegraph. "It would be a brave man to deny the galleries their braveheart."
The European Ryder Cup team in full: