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Ryder Cup wild card contenders

European captain Darren Clarke will name his three wild cards for September's Ryder Cup at Hazeltine on Tuesday.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at the players in contention and their chances of selection:

LEE WESTWOOD - An obvious choice given his close friendship with Clarke, but also because it would be his 10th consecutive appearance in the biennial contest. Clarke made no secret of the fact he wanted Westwood to show enough form to justify a wild card and the 43-year-old responded with a share of second in the Masters and four other top-15 finishes in a relatively limited schedule.

Verdict: Would be a major surprise if overlooked.

MARTIN KAYMER - Kaymer has not tasted victory since claiming his second major title in the 2014 US Open, shortly after also leading from start to finish to win the Players Championship. Like Westwood, the former world number one's recent form has not been startling, but six top-10s in his last 12 events - including sixth in the final event in Denmark - might be good enough when coupled with experience of Europe's last three Ryder Cup wins.

Verdict: Would be a major surprise if overlooked.

RUSSELL KNOX - Would have qualified automatically if he had been a European Tour member when winning the WGC-HSBC Champions event in November last year, but recently won the Travelers Championship to further enhance his claims. At 20th in the world is comfortably the highest ranked of any of the contenders.

Verdict: Would be unlucky to miss out.

THOMAS PIETERS - Pieters was fourth in the Olympics and second in the defence of his Czech Masters title to force his name into the frame, before carding rounds of 62 and 71 while playing alongside Clarke in the first two rounds of the Made In Denmark tournament, which he went on to win with three closing birdies in the final round.

Verdict: Would be unlucky to miss out.

SHANE LOWRY - Won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last year and arguably should have won the US Open in June, taking a four-shot lead into the final round but struggling to a closing 76. Missed the cut in four of his next five events after Oakmont and has not done enough to press his claims.

Verdict: Not this time.


From Belfast Telegraph