EURO RY­DER CUP ROOK­IES CAN SHINE AT HAZEL­TINE

Former cap­tain McGin­ley backs six Euro­pean new­com­ers to ex­cel against USA at Hazel­tine

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Paul McGin­ley has tipped Europe’s six Ry­der Cup rook­ies to thrive at Hazel­tine next week as Dar­ren Clarke’s side go in search of a un­prece­dented fourth con­sec­u­tive vic­tory.

Spain’s Rafa Cabr­era-Bello qual­i­fied au­to­mat­i­cally along­side the English quar­tet of Andy Sul­li­van, Danny Wil­lett, Chris Wood and Matt Fitzpatrick (right), with Clarke then se­lect­ing Thomas Pi­eters as one of his three wild­cards.

All six have shone through­out the year, with Wil­lett win­ning his maiden ma­jor at The Mas­ters, while Wood won the Euro­pean Tour’s flag­ship event – the BMW PGA Championship at Went­worth.

And McGin­ley be­lieves that even though half of Europe’s team are first- timers, Europe have a strong chance of suc­cess in Amer­ica. “The Euro­pean team have six rook­ies head­ing to Hazel­tine, but I don’t think that will be an is­sue or a con­cern,” said McGin­ley. “The term ‘rookie’ is one that I’m not com­fort­able with these days. “They are all ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers, they’ve all won big tour­na­ments, and they have all per­formed on the big stage – most no­tably Danny Wil­lett win­ning the Mas­ters ear­lier this year. “Dar­ren’s team is also in great form. They are young, vi­brant and they will not be in­tim­i­dated by the at­mos­phere of a Ry­der Cup in the United States.

“They are part of a team and Dar­ren will be mak­ing sure they don’t lose their fo­cus. Don’t play the oc­ca­sion, play the game of golf.”

McGin­ley, who cap­tained the Euro­pean team to suc­cess two years ago at Gle­nea­gles, also feels that it is Clarke’s play­ers who will ar­rive in Amer­ica in the bet­ter form.

“Most of the Amer­i­can play­ers have a higher world rank­ing, they are play­ing at home and they have only one rookie in their team, at the mo­ment,” he added.

“But Europe have a nice blend of youth and ex­pe­ri­ence and – most im­por­tantly – a lot of form.

“You look at the rook­ies, and then there’s Rory, Hen­rik, or Justin win­ning Olympic gold – you look at that Euro­pean team and all you can see is good form, par­tic­u­larly over the last cou­ple of months. That’s a great place to be go­ing into a Ry­der Cup.”

HEAD­ING TO HAZEL­TINE: Andy Sul­li­van is one of six new faces in Europe’s Ry­der Cup team

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