Europe names Ryder Cup wildcards
LONDON - Europe Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn loaded his team with experience when he announced Paul Casey, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson as his four wildcards for this month's match against the U.S in Paris this month.
With five rookies having already booked their places automatically through the European and World Points standings, Denmark's Bjorn opted to beef up his team with four players who boast 20 previous Ryder Cup appearances.
Englishman Casey, 41, returns after a 10-year absence from the Ryder Cup, while compatriot Poulter, 42, has been one of Europe's best-performing players in the team event.
Spain's Garcia, 38, will be making his ninth appearance while Swede Stenson has played in four previous matches.
The four captain's picks join Open champion Francesco Molinari of Italy, Britain's Olympic champion Justin Rose, rising English duo Tyrrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood, Spain's Jon Rahm, four-times major winner Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy, Swede Alex Noren and Danish debutant Thorbjorn Olesen.
Europe are attempting to win back the trophy after being well-beaten at Hazeltine National in Minnesota in 2016 -- their first loss in the biennial match since 2008.
The U.S. captain Jim Furyk has named 11 of his 12 players, with experienced duo Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson added to his lineup when he announced his wildcards on Tuesday.
A return to form and fitness for Poulter, known as 'Mr Ryder Cup', is a major boost for Bjorn.
Poulter produced a stunning display at the Medinah Country Club in 2012 when he inspired an unlikely comeback.
"He is a man for the occasion." Bjorn said after revealing his picks. "He is a special person. Both he and Sergio, sometimes you feel they should be footballers because they like that team sport environment."