'Gutted' Shane Lowry comes to terms with missing out on Darren Clarke's Ryder Cup team
Offaly's Shane Lowry is one of a number of top European golfers who were left bitterly disappointed today after Darren Clarke's Ryder Cup wild card picks were revealed.
Lowry was in a strong position at the beginning of 2016 to launch a bid to make the 12-man team but his US Open final round collapse and loss of form meant he missed out on qualifying automatically and has not been named as one of Clarke's three wild card picks.
Scotland's Russell Know was overlooked despite lying in 20th place in golf's world rankings, well ahead of Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Thomas Pieters, Clarke's picks.
Lowry tweeted today: "Gutted not to be on the @RyderCupEurope team but can't argue with the captains picks. Look forward to cheering on the lads in a few weeks."
Gutted not to be on the @RyderCupEurope team but can't argue with the captains picks. Look forward to cheering on the lads in a few weeks.— Shane Lowry (@ShaneLowryGolf) August 30, 2016
Clarke revealed he had suffered sleepless nights over his decision but ultimately "found it impossible" to leave Pieters off the team after the 24-year-old finished fourth in the Olympics and second in the defence of his Czech Masters title the following week, before winning in Denmark on Sunday.
Here is a look at the 12 players who will line up against the United States at Hazeltine.
RORY McILROY (Northern Ireland)
Caps 3 (2010, 2012, 2014)
Record Won 6 Lost 4 Halved 4
Majors 4 (2011 US Open, 2012 US PGA, 2014 Open, 2014 US PGA)
Famously described the Ryder Cup as ''an exhibition'' the year before making his debut in 2010, but has changed his opinion since the narrow victories at Celtic Manor and Medinah, where he beat Keegan Bradley in the singles despite only arriving at the course with minutes to spare. Won three points from five matches at Gleneagles in 2014, most importantly a crushing singles victory over Rickie Fowler.
DANNY WILLETT (England)
Majors 1 (2016 Masters)
One of five rookies to qualify automatically, albeit as a major champion following his superb victory in the Masters in April. Famously beat McIlroy in the first round of the Amateur Championship in 2007 and was on the same Walker Cup team later that year, where he halved two and lost two of his four matches in the narrow defeat at Royal County Down.
HENRIK STENSON (Sweden)
Caps 3 (2006, 2008, 2014)
Record W5 L4 H2
Majors 1 (2016 Open)
Played a vital part in the victory at Gleneagles, combining with Justin Rose to win all three of their matches together. Claimed his first major title with a record-breaking performance in the Open at Royal Troon in July and took silver behind Rose in golf's return to the Olympics in Rio. Ongoing back injury could be a concern.
CHRIS WOOD (England)
Came to prominence when finishing tied fifth in the 2008 Open while still an amateur and was third as a professional the following year, missing out on the play-off between Stewart Cink and Tom Watson by a single shot after a bogey on the 72nd hole. Secured his Ryder Cup place by winning the BMW PGA Championship in May but was forced to miss the Open with a neck injury.
SERGIO GARCIA (Spain)
Caps 7 (1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2014)
Record W18 L9 H5
A talismanic figure for Europe, so much so that he was brought in as a vice-captain by Colin Montgomerie in 2010 despite becoming disenchanted with golf and taking a two-month break from playing. Won two and a half points from four matches at Gleneagles, crucially beating Jim Furyk in the singles as he had done at Medinah two years earlier.
RAFAEL CABRERA-BELLO (Spain)
His only victory on the European Tour came back in 2012, but Cabrera-Bello secured his place in the side with a highly consistent season which included back-to-back runners-up finishes in Qatar and Dubai and five other top-five finishes in strokeplay competitions, including the Olympics. Was also third in the WGC-Dell Match Play after beating McIlroy in the consolation match in Texas.
JUSTIN ROSE (England)
Caps 3 (2008, 2012, 2014)
Record W9 L3 H2
Majors 1 (2013 US Open)
Played all five matches at Medinah in 2012 and did so again in 2014, finishing unbeaten and as Europe's top scorer with three wins and two halved matches, including in the singles against Hunter Mahan. Claimed gold in the Olympics in Rio after a thrilling battle with Gleneagles partner Stenson.
ANDY SULLIVAN (England)
A member of the victorious Walker Cup team in 2011, Sullivan won his first two European Tour titles before Ryder Cup qualifying started, but then added the Portugal Masters in October last year and pushed McIlroy all the way in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. Also finished second in Dubai but missed the cut in the final two qualifying events.
Age 21 (celebrates 22nd birthday on Thursday)
The former US Amateur champion spent the most time in the automatic qualifying positions after winning his maiden European Tour title in the British Masters last October and also finishing fourth in the DP World Tour Championship. Suffered a loss of form after winning the Nordea Masters in June but secured his berth with fifth place in the penultimate event.
MARTIN KAYMER (Germany)
Caps 3 (2010, 2012, 2014)
Record W4 L3 H3
Majors 2 (2010 US PGA, 2014 US Open)
Admitted his form was so poor that he would not have picked himself for the team in 2012, but qualified automatically and ended up securing the point which ensured Europe would retain the trophy with victory over Steve Stricker. Won both the Players Championship and US Open by leading from start to finish in 2014, his last victories to date.
LEE WESTWOOD (England)
Caps 9 (1997, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014)
Record W20 L15 H6
Boasts vast experience with nine consecutive appearances since making his debut in 1997 and always expected to be selected by good friend and captain Darren Clarke if he failed to qualify. Did need to show some form to justify his place however and was second in the Masters in April and 14th in the world points list.
THOMAS PIETERS (Belgium)
Discovered his best form at the right time by finishing fourth in the Olympics, second in his defence of the Czech Masters and then winning the final qualifying event in Denmark, after shooting opening rounds of 62 and 71 while playing alongside Clarke. Big hitting will be an advantage at Hazeltine.