Pieters, Kaymer and Westwood earn Europe's Ryder Cup wildcards

Darren Clarke made his three picks on Tuesday afternoon

BY Daniel Kelly 12:36 Tuesday 30 August 2016, 12:36 30 Aug 2016

Thomas Pieters. Picture by: Alastair Grant / AP/Press Association Images

Darren Clarke has announced Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Thomas Pieters as his three wildcard picks for next month's Ryder Cup.

The three men complete the 12-man team to face the United States in Valhalla. Nine players, including Rory McIlroy and five debutants has already qualified automatically earlier this month.

Westwood and Kaymer's inclusions are not a surprise, but it was the selection of Pieters that seemed to cause Clarke the most problems. The Belgian has been in terrific form in recent weeks, with three top-five finishes in his last three events including a fourth place finish at the Olympic Games and a win at the Made in Denmark event last Sunday.

Pieters' inclusion in the team means that half of the 12-man team will be rookies. They include Masters champion Danny Willett, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Chris Wood, Andy Sullivan and Rafa Cabrero-Bello.

The Open champion Henrik Stenson, Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Olympic gold medalist Justin Rose complete the team.

Westwood will play in his tenth Ryder Cup, which will leave him in third place in the all-time appearances list behind Nick Faldo and Phil Mickelson. The Hazeltine event will be Mickelson's eleventh, leaving him level with Faldo.

Clarke confirmed at the event, that the final wildcard was down to a battle between Pieters and Scotland's Russell Knox.

The Ryder Cup begins on September 30th with Europe looking to retain the title it won at Gleneagles in 2014.

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