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Europe’s Ryder Cup team set; Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter among captain’s picks

Sep 2, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Sergio Garcia plays his shot from the second tee during the first round of the Tour Championship golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 2, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Sergio Garcia plays his shot from the second tee during the first round of the Tour Championship golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Captain Padraig Harrington will take a team mixed with veterans and rookies to Whistling Straits when Team Europe clashes with the U.S. team in the Ryder Cup later this month.

Harrington announced the 12 members of the team on Sunday following the conclusion of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club in Surrey, England, the final tournament to determine the automatic qualifiers and the captain’s picks.

With his captain’s picks, Harrington chose Ryder Cup veterans Sergio Garcia of Spain and Ian Poulter of England along with Ireland’s Shane Lowry, who will be making his event debut.

Left off the team was Justin Rose of England, who has played in the past four Ryder Cups for Europe.

Harrington said he selected Garcia and Poulter for their abilities but also for their leadership. Garcia is Team Europe’s all-time points scorer in Ryder Cup play, and Poulter will be playing in his seventh event.

As for Lowry, who won The Open Championship in 2019, Harrington said he earned his first opportunity.

“Nobody thinks of him as a rookie,” Harrington said. “Shane is a big-time player. He’s not better than when he’s on the big-time stage.”

Entering Sunday, Harrington knew five of the players who would be traveling to Wisconsin but had to await the results of the tournament to determine four more automatic qualifiers. They turned out to be 11-time Team Europe member Lee Westwood of England and 35-year-old Austrian Bernd Wiesberger, a Ryder Cup rookie. They were joined by Englishmen Tyrrell Hatton and Matthew Fitzpatrick, who had all but wrapped up their spots.

Players who previously had secured their positions were world No. 1 Jon Rahm of Spain, Tommy Fleetwood and Paul Casey of England, Viktor Hovland of Norway and Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland.

This will be the first Ryder Cup for Hovland.

“I have a great team,” Harrington said. “Probably the best ball strikers Europe have ever had in a Ryder Cup.”

U.S. captain Steve Stricker might disagree about who has the better squad. His team has nine of the top 11 ranked players in the world.

The U.S. will be attempting to regain the Ryder Cup, which Europe won 17 1/2 to 10 1/2 in 2018 at Le Golf National in Paris. The delayed 2020 Ryder Cup will be held Sept. 24-26 on American turf again in rural Wisconsin, along the shore of Lake Michigan.

Team USA consists of automatic qualifiers Collin Morikawa, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and Patrick Cantlay, along with captains picks Jordan Spieth, Harris English, Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Daniel Berger and Scottie Scheffler.

–Field Level Media