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Paul McGinley gives Ryder Cup wild card spots to Ian Poulter, Stephen Gallacher and Lee Westwood

Updated: Tuesday, 02 Sep 2014 17:08 | Comments

Paul McGinley now knows his 12-man team for Gleneagles
Paul McGinley now knows his 12-man team for Gleneagles

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European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley has named Ian Poulter, Stephen Gallacher and Lee Westwood as his three wild card picks for the showdown with the USA at the end of this month at Gleneagles.

That meant there was no place for former world number one Luke Donald or Italy's Francesco Molinari as Europe look to claim an eighth win in the last 10 stagings of the biennial contest on 26-28 September.

"I'm in a privileged position in that I had a variety of choices and it says a lot about the European Tour and the standards we have now in Europe, the quality of the picks I have and how far we've come over the years for me to have such an abundance of talent to choose from," McGinley said, who announced the team at Wentworth.

"There are some real quality players who have performed incredibly well who are not going to make the team.

"It was a very difficult call to those guys involved but on the positive side I think we have three players that will add a lot to the nine already qualified who make the European team as strong as it needs to be to take on the might of America."

Gallacher came agonisingly close to securing an automatic place on the team by finishing third in the Italian Open on Sunday, just one shot out of the share of second place he required.

However, McGinley stayed on in Turin after missing the cut and witnessed the Scot card a flawless closing 65 to record his 10th top-10 finish of a qualifying campaign which also saw him retain his Dubai Desert Classic title in February.

McGinley likened Gallacher's efforts in Turin to the way he put himself in position to make the Ryder Cup team back in 2004.

"I think his performance last week in Italy, under the spotlight, was huge," McGinley said. "He'll look back at that at the end of his career, whatever he goes on to achieve, as one of the highlights of his career, if not the highlight.

"I know from experience, I look back on my career as I come to the close of it now, at my performance in 2004 on the very last event to get my head in front and into the team.

"What he did, how he did it, all credit to him" - Paul McGinley on Stephen Gallacher's performance in the Italian Open

“I look back on that as one of my proudest moments as a professional golfer, and Stevey will feel like that this morning. What he did, how he did it, all credit to him."

Westwood has made eight consecutive appearances since making his debut in 1997, winning 21 points from 37 matches.

The 41-year-old finished seventh in the Masters in April and won in Malaysia the following week, but suffered a slump in form until a final round of 63 in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in August.

He also shared the lead after the first round of the US PGA Championship before finishing 15th, but failed to advance beyond the first FedEx Cup play-off event.

Poulter has earned the nickname 'Mr Ryder Cup' and it is hard not to see why. This is the third time he has needed a wild card to make the team, but he has raised his game on every occasion and none more so than at Medinah in 2012.

The 38-year-old won all four of his matches and famously birdied the last five holes alongside Rory McIlroy to beat Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson in the Saturday fourballs.

He also beat Webb Simpson in the singles to take his record to an amazing 12 wins from 15 matches.

Europe team (v USA):

Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson (Swe), Victor Dubuisson (Fr), Jamie Donaldson (Wal), Sergio Garcia (Spa), Thomas Bjorn (Den), Justin Rose (Eng), Martin Kaymer (Ger), Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter (Eng), Stephen Gallacher (Sco) and Lee Westwood (Eng).

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