Business Day

Europe’s Ry­der Cup rook­ies could be spared four­somes

- ELITE CLUB: Mar­tin Kaymer is hop­ing to help Europe to its fourth con­sec­u­tive Ry­der Cup vic­tory. TONY JIMENEZ Lon­don

EUROPE will field six rook­ies in Septem­ber’s Ry­der Cup against the US but cap­tain Dar­ren Clarke may not pick many of the new­com­ers in the four­somes matches, says wild­card choice Mar­tin Kaymer.

Danny Wil­lett, Chris Wood, Rafa Cabr­era-Bello, Andy Sul­li­van, Matt Fitz­patrick and Thomas Pi­eters will make their first ap­pear­ances in the com­pe­ti­tion when Europe de­fend the tro­phy at Hazel­tine, Min­nesota.

The team event com­prises two ses­sions each of four­balls and four­somes plus 12 sin­gles on the fi­nal day and Kaymer hinted that the hold­ers would opt for ex­pe­ri­ence in the al­ter­nate-shot for­mat.

“In four­somes I be­lieve the sta­tis­tics say that with two rook­ies play­ing to­gether there is a 7% chance they will win their match,” the 31-year-old Ger­man said.

“I don’t know how Dar­ren will set up the team but I think es­pe­cially in the four­somes you need ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers, so I don’t know how many rook­ies he will put in that for­mat.”

Kaymer was se­lected by Clarke as one of three wild-cards, along with Bel­gian Pi­eters and 43-yearold English­man Lee West­wood.

The win­ner of the 2014 US Open and 2010 US PGA Cham­pi­onship will be fea­tur­ing in his fourth Ry­der Cup but he does not see him­self team leader.

“I wouldn’t call my­self a Ry­der Cup veteran; Lee West­wood and Ser­gio Gar­cia are veter­ans,” said Kaymer, a brand am­bas­sador for Mercedes-Benz, of­fi­cial pa­tron and ve­hi­cle of the Ry­der Cup.

“Some peo­ple say I have more of a leader’s role this time but that’s not how I see it. It’s not re­ally in my char­ac­ter to be a leader, but I will be there for any of the rook­ies if they need any help.

“Lee is the most ex­pe­ri­enced player in our team. He took me un­der his wing when I played in my first Ry­der Cup in 2010.”

De­spite his two Ma­jor cham­pi­onship tri­umphs and the eight weeks he spent at the top of the world rank­ings in 2011, Kaymer said he at­tracted more at­ten­tion for his Ry­der Cup ex­ploits than any­thing else.

The nor­mally placid Ger­man cel­e­brated wildly when he sank an eight-foot putt at the 18th hole to de­feat Steve Stricker and seal Europe’s come­back vic­tory in Illi­nois four years ago.

“Peo­ple recog­nise my name more for the Ry­der Cup than they do for my Ma­jor wins,” said Kaymer. “That shows how im­por­tant the com­pe­ti­tion is in the world of golf and in sport gen­er­ally.”

Kaymer will pre­pare by play­ing in the Ital­ian Open, which starts on Thurs­day, and next week’s Eu­ro­pean Open in Ger­many.

“I’m go­ing to be work­ing a lit­tle bit more on my short game over the next cou­ple of weeks be­cause in match play you have got to make those im­por­tant putts,” he said.

This is the first time Kaymer has had to rely on a cap­tain’s pick to make the team but he be­lieves it will have no bear­ing on his per­for­mance or mind-set.

“I won’t give any less or any more than if I had gained au­to­matic se­lec­tion. I am part of the team and I’ve got to de­liver.”

Europe will bid to win the Ry­der Cup for the fourth time in a row from Septem­ber 30 to Oc­to­ber 2.

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