Rose de­fends Ry­der Cup se­lec­tions

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

OLYMPIC gold medal­list Justin Rose gave Ry­der Cup rookie Thomas Pi­eters a ring­ing en­dorse­ment yes­ter­day af­ter the big-hit­ting Bel­gian was picked for the bi­en­nial match against the US next month.

“The re­ally dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion was choos­ing Thomas Pi­eters over Rus­sell Knox, two guys who are in form, two guys who de­serve their place in the team,” Rose told a news tele­con­fer­ence, as he con­firmed he would de­fend his Hong Kong Open ti­tle in De­cem­ber.

“Choos­ing one of them was al­ways go­ing to be very, very dif­fi­cult but I think what Thomas has shown Dar­ren [Clarke] in the last few weeks has been in­cred­i­ble,” added Rose.

Europe’s Ry­der Cup cap­tain Dar­ren Clarke an­nounced Eng­land’s Lee West­wood, Ger­many’s Martin Kaymer and Pi­eters as his three wild­cards on Au­gust 30.

Clarke had been widely ex­pected to turn to ex­pe­ri­enced Ry­der Cup cam­paign­ers West­wood and Kaymer, but Pi­eters was picked ahead of Scot­land’s Rus­sell Knox, who was the high­est-ranked player not to qual­ify au­to­mat­i­cally.

“The phone call to Rus­sell was one of the hard­est I have ever had to make,” ad­mit­ted Clarke as he an­nounced his choices for the match at Hazel­tine Na­tional in Min­nesota.

But Rose, who will be mak­ing his fourth Ry­der Cup ap­pear­ance, said he fully backed his cap­tain’s judge­ment.

Rose noted that Pi­eters had made a bold state­ment for in­clu­sion with a stun­ning open­ing round of 62 play­ing along­side Clarke on his way to vic­tory at last week’s Made in Den­mark tour­na­ment.

Two weeks ear­lier Pi­eters had just missed the podium in Rio. In be­tween he was run­ner-up at the Czech Masters.

“He fin­ished fourth in the Olympics and then sec­ond and first in his last two events,” said Rose. “And the style and man­ner in which he won over the week­end I think re­ally im­pressed the cap­tain.”

Rose be­lieves the 24-year-old Pi­eters has the type of game that can suit the team for­mat of the Ry­der Cup, where play­ers need to adapt to four­some [al­ter­nate shot], four­ball and sin­gles play over three days of in­tense com­pe­ti­tion.

“I think Thomas is a great young tal­ent. He’s good for the dy­namic of the team,” said Rose.

“He’s very long off the tee and has a great short game so I think maybe the cap­tain has the op­tion of play­ing him in many dif­fer­ent for­mats with many dif­fer­ent play­ers.”

Rose promised he would bring his Olympic gold medal to Hong Kong when he de­fends his ti­tle in De­cem­ber.

There he will come up against Masters cham­pion Danny Wil­lett, who also con­firmed his par­tic­i­pa­tion yes­ter­day in the co-sanc­tioned Euro­pean Tour and Asian Tour event at Fan­ling on De­cem­ber 8-11. –

Photo: EPA

Justin Rose, who won the Olympic gold medal for golf, has come out in sup­port of Bri­tish cap­tain Dar­ren Clarke’s se­lec­tions for the up­com­ing Ry­der Cup.

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