WATCH: The pressure of being a Ryder Cup captain's pick

Ask any golfer who has played in a Ryder Cup and they will tell you the pressure is like nowhere else in the game. Then go and ask a Ryder Cup captain's pick,writes Simon Lewis in Hazeltine.

It is one thing standing on the first tee or over a potentially match-winning putt knowing you have made your team on merit, through either the United States or European qualifying system. It is an entirely different matter if you are there by someone else's good graces.

As a consequence, every point or half-point you can deliver is a vindication of your presence, every defeat a damning indictment of both you and your captain's misplaced trust.

That is the burden of being a wildcard and the fate will befall seven of the 24 players this weekend as the 41st Ryder Cup gets under way in Minnesota on Friday.

European captain Darren Clarke made his three selections at the end of August and chose experienced Ryder Cup hands Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer as well as rookie Thomas Pieters to his eight automatic qualifers, five of whom will also be debutants in this biennial event.

American captain Davis Love III waited a little longer to name three of his four picks, selecting Rickie Fowler, JB Holmes and Matt Kuchar to join the seven who made the team under their own steam and waiting until last Sunday night to reveal his 12th man, that evening's Tour Championship runner-up Ryan Moore, only the second rookie on the 2016 team after automatic qualifier Brooks Koepka.

Their efforts will be more greatly scrutinised and with good reason, for they have been selected by their captains to add something to their team, not merely make up the numbers. That was the point of the exercise when wildcards were first introduced in 1979 when with the newly expanded European team taking its bow at the Greenbrier, John Jacobs called on Peter Oosterhuis and Des Smyth to augment his team.

Before this week there have been 69 picks, with the Americans choosing their first wildcards in 1989, and they have proven to be a mixed bag.

The undoubted stars of the system are of a more recent vintage, Ian Woosnam's 2006 selections for Europe at the K Club being this year's captain Clarke and his best friend Westwood, who between them contributed seven points out of a possible nine, the Irishman, still mourning the death of his wife, winning an emotional three from three with Westwood chipping in three wins and two halves without defeat.

Ian Poulter was another who thrived under the increased pressure, making his debut two years later as one of Nick Faldo's picks at Valhalla and delivering four points from a possible five and then going four from four when asked to do a similar job at Medinah for Jose Maria Olazabal. That same year, Dustin Johnson won all three of his matches for Davis Love but while Europe celebrated their miracle comeback for victory, US pointers were pointed at the other three picks. Jim Furyk, Brandt Snedeker and Steve Stricker contributing just three points out of nine and the latter going 0-4.

Andrew Coltart's selection Europe by Mark James at Brookline in 1999 serves as an example of a pick not properly used by the man who chose him. Scotland's Coltart, a rookie, was held back by captain James until the Sunday's singles, as were automatic qualifiers Jarmo Sandelin and Jean van de Velde.

Coltart was then drawn against Tiger Woods for his singles match and unsurprisngly failed to rise to the occasion on a torrid day for Europe in the Boston suburbs. He lost as did his undercooked and inexperienced team-mates but for Coltart the question must have been why did James pick him in the first place?

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