LONDON – Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey and Sergio Garcia were handed the four wildcard picks to make the European Ryder Cup team on Wednesday, as captain Thomas Bjorn put his faith in experience.
England’s Poulter, a talisman for Europe in past Ryder Cups, has returned to form this year after missing the 2016 defeat by the United States at Hazeltine.
All four picks have been part of multiple winning sides, although Spaniard Garcia has struggled this year, missing the cut at each of the last five major tournaments.
British Open champion Francesco Molinari, four-time major winner Rory McIlroy, English trio Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton, Jon Rahm, Alex Noren and Thorbjorn Olesen had already qualified automatically for the September 28-30 event to be held just outside Paris.
Bjorn opted for 2017 Masters champion Garcia ahead of Belgian Thomas Pieters, who won four points two years ago as a rookie, Rafa Cabrera Bello and Matt Wallace.
“The one thing about Sergio is that he’s the heartbeat of the team. It’s like a football team going without their captain, that’s what it’s like for us,” said the Dane.
It will be the 38-year-old Garcia’s ninth Ryder Cup appearance, having been the youngest man to play in the event’s history as a 19-year-old in 1999.