A European side containing eight of the world’s top 20 golfers was finalised on Sunday when Captain Colin Montgomerie added his three wildcard picks to the nine automatic qualifiers decided upon completion of the last counting event, the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.
Montgomerie selected Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald and Edoardo Molinari to join qualifiers Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter, Ross Fisher, Francesco Molinari, Miguel Angel Jiménez and Peter Hanson for the match against the United States of America from October 1-3.
Celtic Manor Resort Chairman Sir Terry Matthews said: “I congratulate every member of the European team on winning their place in the team. It is a considerable achievement both for those who qualified automatically and for those who were awarded wildcard selections.
“In my opinion, this is the strongest European team ever assembled and I look forward to welcoming these very talented players to The Celtic Manor Resort in four weeks’ time. I have no doubt they will meet an equally determined American side and we all anticipate a fantastic week of the finest sporting competition.”
At the start of the season Montgomerie urged his Ryder Cup contenders to play in this year’s Celtic Manor Wales Open to better acquaint themselves with the Ryder Cup layout and, in Donald and Molinari, he has picked players who shone in that tournament.
Donald finished third on his first appearance at Celtic Manor in June while Molinari was just a shot further back in fourth. With tournament champion Graeme McDowell one of the highest placed team qualifiers after his sensational US Open triumph a fortnight later, and Wales Open runner-up Rhys Davies invited to be part of the team room in a non-playing role, Montgomerie has surrounded himself with golfers who have performed well on The Twenty Ten Course.
Like McDowell, Poulter and Jiménez return to Celtic Manor with fond memories as the Wales Open winners of 2003 and 2005 respectively.
In all, seven of the 12 players who will bid to regain The Ryder Cup from the Americans played in this year’s Celtic Manor Wales Open and only Westwood and Poulter have yet to play the new Ryder Cup layout in competition.
“I think it’s a definite advantage for Europe to have so many of the team who know the course well,” said Celtic Manor Director of Golf Courses Jim McKenzie. “A good number of them also have the added confidence of having played very well on The Twenty Ten Course.
“Although I think US Captain Corey Pavin is right when he says there is nothing tricked up about this golf course, there’s no doubt the more you play The Twenty Ten Course the more you learn about it.”
Pavin adds his four captain’s picks to complete his team next Monday (September 7). They will join automatic qualifiers Phil Mickelson, Hunter Mahan, Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Jeff Overton and Matt Kuchar.
The 2010 Ryder Cup will take place at The Celtic Manor Resort, City of Newport, Wales, from October 1-3. Tickets for the match days and the practice days are still available through www.rydercup.com/tickets.
The US Ryder Cup team will be finalised on September 7 when US Captain Corey Pavin announces his four wild card picks.
The Celtic Manor Resort www.celtic-manor.com