European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley on Tuesday selected Ian Poulter, Stephen Gallacher and Lee Westwood as his wild-card picks for the biennial event, which begins Sept. 23 at Gleneagles in Scotland.
As the Guardian reports, the absence of Englishman Luke Donald may raise some eyebrows. Donald, a former world No. 1, has never been a part of a losing Ryder Cup team and has lost only four times in 15 career matches at the event.
“It was a very, very difficult conversation,” said McGinley, who partnered the Englishman in his first Ryder Cup match in 2004. “My relationship with Luke is very close.
“Luke has been an incredible performer over the years, he is a former world No1 and his record in the Ryder Cup is absolutely outstanding. It was a very difficult call to make but one that had to be made in the interests of the European team.
“Luke was very, very disappointed and rightly so. My personal relationship with him goes back to the first shot he ever hit in a Ryder Cup because I was his partner.”
Asked about Donald’s response, McGinley replied: “Luke said to me: ‘You know, Paul, I publicly backed you to be captain. Even though you haven’t picked me, I still think you’ll be a great captain.’”
Gallacher, a mainstay on the European PGA Tour, will make his Ryder Cup debut after coming within one stroke at the Italian Open of automatically qualifying for the event. He has played 12 career tournaments at Gleneagles, which is only 35 miles from his home in Scotland, with seven top 10 finishes. He finished in a tie for 14th at this year’s U.S. Open and was tied for 34th at the Masters.
Poulter is 12-3 all-time at the event, and he’s also won seven straight Ryder Cup matches. Westwood will be making his ninth straight appearance at the Ryder Cup.
U.S. captain Tom Watson will make his picks at 7 p.m. Tuesday night. Chris Kirk could be one of those selections after his win Monday at the Deutsche Bank Championship.