Inspecting the CVs of Europe’s five Ryder Cup rookies
Darren Clarke now knows nine of his 12-strong Ryder Cup squad for 2016, after the automatic qualification spots were sealed a week ahead of schedule.
Along with experienced veterans like Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose, the Northern Irishman has five rookies among his number and could yet add more with his three captain’s picks.
Here’s a closer look at the quintet of newbies that will be representing Europe at Hazeltine this September:
Willett has seen his stock rise consistently over the last two seasons but achieved a career-high world ranking this year with his Masters victory.
Slipping on the Green Jacket hasn’t been his only success in 2016 though, as he preceded the Augusta triumph by landing the Omega Desert Classic.
The Yorkshireman qualified for Hazeltine in second spot on the European points list.
It was his BMW PGA Championship success that launched Wood into contention for the automatic qualifying places in Clarke’s team.
The latest of the 28-year-old’s three European Tour wins arrived by one stroke at Wentworth last May and propelled the Englishman into the world’s top 25 for the first time.
Consistency rather than any one triumph has sent the Spaniard to Minnesota, especially this year where Cabrera-Bello has recorded eight top 10s in his 20 starts.
Particularly relevant in that metronomic run was the Gran Canaria native’s 3-and-2 victory over McIlroy to claim third place at this year’s World Matchplay in Texas.
Despite not winning during the calendar year, book-ended hot streaks at the start and finish of the qualifying window have helped Sullivan earn a maiden Ryder Cup spot.
Victory and two silver medals in nine outings at the outset were followed by two top-10 finishes more recently to keep the world number 40 in possession of one of the final two roster places.
When Thomas Pieters marginally failed in his defence of the Czech Masters title and Shane Lowry finished outside the top-four, Fitzpatrick was confirmed as a 2016 Ryder Cup participant.
A tie for seventh at Augusta and victory in the Nordea Masters made it a memorable year for the Sheffield native.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.