José María Olazábal has named Ian Poulter and Nicolas Colsaerts as his wildcard picks for the Ryder Cup matches against the USA at Medinah this September.
Poulter was always a likely choice and Colsaerts was given the nod ahead of David Lynn, Rafa Cabrera Bello and Padraig Harrington.
In a press conference at Gleneagles, Olazábal laid out his reasons for selecting the Englishman and the Belgian.
“I picked Ian for obvious reasons. He has a great Ryder Cup record, his attitude and spirit has always been great,” he said. “The Ryder Cup brings the best out in him. He will give everything he has.”
“Nicolas will be the only rookie. His matchplay record is good. He won this year at the World Matchplay. He made an extra effort to make the team and he showed me that. Medinah is a long course and length can be a factor but the important thing is how many putts you make.”
Olazábal has already spoken with those players who didn’t quite make it.
“It’s never an easy decision,” he said. “I talked to the next guys on the list, to Padraig, David, Rafa, and it’s never easy, but they took it well.”
Colsaerts very nearly played his way into the side automatically but in the end, Martin Kaymer held onto the 10th spot. Olazábal was quick to dispel any concerns about the German’s form.
“I talked to Martin yesterday and he’s been doing some good work in the last two weeks,” he said. “He’s scheduled to play in Holland and Italy and we’ll have a good idea how his game is. But he’s determined to be part of the team and I don’t think we’ll have any problems.”
With regards to Europe’s chances in Chicago, Olazábal suggests the contest is wide open.
“I don’t think that one side will be favourite,” he said. “They have a very strong team and so do we. They will have the home advantage so we will have to play very well and be prepared. The atmosphere will be electric so the guys need to be ready for that.”
The final European Ryder Cup team is:
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