Ryder Cup 2016
Sep 5th, 2016
Not picking G-Mac was tough for Darren Clarke
Another Ryder Cup twist...
Words: Tim Southwell Photography: Getty Images
Just when you thought the Captain's Picks palaver had finished, Darren Clarke has thrown the name of Graeme McDowell into the mix...
First we thought the big miss-out was Russell Knox, then it emerged Luke Donald was close to getting selected. Now, Clarkey has revealed perhaps the hardest decision was not to include his pal Graeme McDowell.
Former US Open champion McDowell, 37, has fallen to number 83 in the world and was not one of Clarke's three wildcard selections for Hazeltine.
"G-Mac is a good friend and I was speaking to him frequently during the qualifying process," said Clarke, 48. "It was very difficult, but he is just not firing on all cylinders right now."
McDowell has great Ryder Cup pedigree, holing the winning putt in 2010 at Celtic Manor and appearing in all of the last four Ryder Cups. Plus he knows how to win in America, bagging the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach no less.
Clarke says it will be weird not having G-Mac around for the week but stressed just how supportive the Northern Irishman has been.
"The messages he has sent show the class of the man," said Clarke. "He has been wishing us all the best and volunteering to help in any way he can."
The European captain also says he is not worried that six of his team have not played in the Ryder Cup before.
Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Andy Sullivan, Matt Fitzpatrick and Chris Wood will make their debuts in Minnesota from 30 September to 2 October.
"The Ryder Cup will be different to anything they have played in before, but they aren't rookies anymore really," added Darren. "They play all over the world and I have confidence that the guys will go over there and perform. The Americans are desperate to win the cup back but I believe in our team."
It's gonna be white hot! Especially the first couple of sessions when we'll all be desperate to see whether Darren bloods the rookies immediately or goes for experience. Excited? No, not really...... ⛳️✈️
Watch: G-Mac wins the Ryder Cup for Europe at Celtic Manor