We look at the golfers who could become heroes and villains this week...
RORY McILROY (Northern Ireland, Age 27): Caps 3 (2010, 2012, 2014) Record: Won 6 Lost 4 Halved 4 Majors 4 (2011 US Open, 2012 US PGA, 2014 Open, 2014 US PGA)
Famously described the Ryder Cup as “an exhibition” the year before making his debut in 2010, but has changed his opinion since the narrow victories at Celtic Manor and Medinah, where he beat Keegan Bradley in the singles despite only arriving at the course with minutes to spare. Won three points from five matches at Gleneagles in 2014, most importantly a crushing singles victory over Rickie Fowler. Weekend FEDEx Cup success means he will arrive at Hazeltine on a high.
DANNY WILLETT (England, 28) Caps 0 Majors 1 (2016 Masters)
One of five rookies to qualify automatically, albeit as a major champion following his superb victory in the Masters in April. Famously beat McIlroy in the first round of the Amateur Championship in 2007 and was on the same Walker Cup team later that year, where he halved two and lost two of his four matches in the narrow defeat at Royal County Down.
HENRIK STENSON (Sweden, 40): Caps 3 (2006, 2008, 2014) Record: W5 L4 H2 Majors 1 (2016 Open)
Played a vital part in the victory at Gleneagles, combining with Justin Rose to win all three of their matches together. Claimed his first major title with a record-breaking performance in the Open at Royal Troon in July and took silver behind Rose in golf’s return to the Olympics in Rio. Ongoing back injury could be a concern.
CHRIS WOOD (England, 28): Caps 0 Majors 0
Came to prominence when finishing tied fifth in the 2008 Open while still an amateur and was third as a professional the following year, missing out on the play-off between Stewart Cink and Tom Watson by a single shot after a bogey on the 72nd hole. Secured Ryder Cup place by winning the BMW PGA Championship in May but missed the Open with a neck injury.
SERGIO GARCIA (Spain, 36): Caps 7 (1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2014) Record: W18 L9 H5 Majors 0
Talismanic figure for Europe, so much so he was brought in as a vice-captain by Colin Montgomerie in 2010 despite becoming disenchanted with golf and taking two-month break from play. Won two and a half points from four matches at Gleneagles, crucially beating Jim Furyk in singles as he did at Medinah two years earlier.
RAFAEL CABRERA-BELLO (Spain, 32): Caps 0 Majors 0
His only victory on the European Tour came back in 2012, but Cabrera-Bello secured his place in the side with a highly consistent season which included back-to-back runners-up finishes in Qatar and Dubai and five other top-five finishes in strokeplay competitions, including the Olympics. Third in WGC-Dell Match Play after beating McIlroy in the consolation match in Texas.
JUSTIN ROSE (England, 36); Caps 3 (2008, 2012, 2014) Record W9 L3 H2 Majors 1 (2013 US Open)
Played all five matches at Medinah in 2012 and did so again in 2014, finishing unbeaten and as Europe’s top scorer with three wins and two halved matches, including in the singles against Hunter Mahan. Claimed gold in the Olympics in Rio after a thrilling battle with Gleneagles partner Stenson.
ANDY SULLIVAN (England, 30) Caps 0 Majors 0
A member of the victorious Walker Cup team in 2011, Sullivan won his first two European Tour titles before Ryder Cup qualifying started, but then added the Portugal Masters in October last year and pushed McIlroy all the way in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. Also finished second in Dubai but missed the cut in the final two qualifying events.
MATT FITZPATRICK (England, 22): Caps 0 Majors 0
The former US Amateur champion spent the most time in the automatic qualifying positions after winning his maiden European Tour title in the British Masters last October and also finishing fourth in the DP World Tour Championship. Suffered a loss of form after winning the Nordea Masters in June but secured his berth with fifth place in the penultimate event.
MARTIN KAYMER (Germany, 31): Caps 3 (2010, 2012, 2014) Record: W4 L3 H3 Majors 2 (2010 US PGA, 2014 US Open)
Admitted his form was so poor that he would not have picked himself for the team in 2012, but qualified automatically and ended up securing the point which ensured Europe would retain the trophy with victory over Steve Stricker. Won both the Players Championship and US Open by leading from start to finish in 2014, his last victories.
LEE WESTWOOD (England, 43): Caps 9 (1997, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014) Record: W20 L15 H6 Majors 0
Boasts vast experience with nine consecutive appearances since making his debut in 1997 and always expected to be selected by good friend and captain Darren Clarke if he failed to qualify. Did need to show some form to justify his place however and was second in the Masters in April and 14th in the world points list.
THOMAS PIETERS (Belgium, 24): Caps 0 Majors 0
Discovered his best form at the right time by finishing fourth in the Olympics, second in his defence of the Czech Masters and then winning the final qualifying event in Denmark, after shooting opening rounds of 62 and 71 while playing alongside Clarke. Big hitting will be an advantage at Hazeltine.
DUSTIN JOHNSON (Age 32): Caps 2 (2010, 2012) Record: Won 4 Lost 3 Halved 0 Majors 1 (US Open 2016)
Finally claimed an overdue major title with victory in the US Open at Oakmont in June, despite being penalised a shot in the final round when he was adjudged to have caused his ball to move on the fifth green. Won just one of his four matches in 2010 but all three in 2012, only to miss the 2014 contest at Gleneagles due to taking a “leave of absence” from the game.
JORDAN SPIETH (23): Caps 1 (2014) Record: W2 L1 H1 Majors 2 (Masters 2015, US Open 2015)
Shot to fame by winning the 2013 John Deere Classic at the age of 19, becoming the first teenage winner on the PGA Tour since 1931. Won two and a half points from three matches with Patrick Reed in 2014, but squandered an early lead to Graeme McDowell in the opening singles. Won the Masters and US Open in 2015 and finished a shot outside the play-off for the Open.
PHIL MICKELSON (46): Caps 10 (1995, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014) Record: W16 L19 H6 Majors 5 (Masters 2004, 2006, 2010, US PGA 2005, Open 2013)
Maintained proud record of qualifying automatically for each team by finishing second to Henrik Stenson in a thrilling duel for the Open Championship in July, missing out on a second Claret Jug despite a closing 65 at Royal Troon. The left-hander’s 41 matches is unsurprisingly a record, but so is the 19 defeats.
PATRICK REED (26): Caps 1 (2014) Record: W3 L0 H1 Majors 0
Caused controversy after his victory in the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral in 2014 by claiming he was one of the top five players in the world, but was unbeaten later that year at Gleneagles with three and a half points from four matches. Sealed his second appearance with victory in The Barclays.
JIMMY WALKER (37): Caps 1 (2014) Record: W1 L1 H3 Majors 1 (US PGA 2016)
Won his first PGA Tour title in his 188th start and claimed two more victories in his next seven events to secure his Ryder Cup debut by February 2014 and played all five matches at Gleneagles. Halved three of those with Rickie Fowler and lost the other, but did beat Lee Westwood in the singles. Was well down the qualifying list until winning his first major title in the US PGA at Baltusrol.
BROOKS KOEPKA (26): Caps 0 Majors 0
Koepka’s place on the team was in jeopardy after he suffered an ankle injury which kept him out of action for several weeks, but he returned to finish fourth in the US PGA and ninth the following week in the Travelers Championship to seal his berth at Hazeltine.
BRANDT SNEDEKER (35): Caps 1 (2012) Record: W1 L2 H0 Majors 0
Helped the United States into a 10-4 lead at Medinah in 2012 by partnering Jim Furyk to a crucial foursomes win over Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, but was thrashed 5&3 by Paul Lawrie in the singles as Europe staged a brilliant fightback. Came from well off the pace to win the weather-affected Farmers Insurance Open in February.
ZACH JOHNSON (40): Caps 4 (2006, 2010, 2012, 2014) Record: W6 L6 H2 Majors 2 (Masters 2007, Open 2015)
Won two of his three matches with Jason Dufner in 2012 and was only denied a 100% record by a sensational performance from Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy in the Saturday fourballs. Beat Graeme McDowell in the singles, one of just three American wins that day, but won just half a point from three matches in 2014.
RICKIE FOWLER (27): Caps 2 (2010, 2014) Record: W0 L3 H5 Majors 0
Looked set to secure an automatic place when he led after 54 holes of the final qualifying event, only to slip to seventh place and miss out. Failed to win a match on either of his two previous appearances, halving three alongside Jimmy Walker in 2014 before losing 5&4 to Victor Dubuisson and Graeme McDowell. Was then thrashed by the same score by Rory McIlroy in the singles.
JB HOLMES (34): Caps 1 (2008) Record: W2 L0 H1 Majors 0
Finished fourth in the Masters and a distant third in the Open Championship in 2016, before a timely tie for fourth in the BMW Championship earned a second Ryder Cup appearance. Was unbeaten in his native Kentucky in 2008, taking two and a half points from three matches to help the United States record their last victory to date.
MATT KUCHAR (38): Caps 3 (2010, 2012, 2014) Record: W4 L5 H2 Majors 0
Carded a brilliant closing 63 to claim bronze in the Olympics in Rio and finished fourth alongside fellow wild card Holmes in the BMW Championship. Has yet to taste victory in the Ryder Cup after featuring in the last three defeats and won just one of his four matches at Gleneagles in 2014, beating Thomas Bjorn in the singles.
RYAN MOORE (33): Caps 0 Majors 0
Moore won his fifth PGA Tour title at the John Deere Classic in August but was considered an outsider for a wild card until his performance at the Tour Championship, where he fired a final round of 64 to secure a play-off with Rory McIlroy and Kevin Chappell. McIlroy eventually won on the fourth extra hole, but Moore’s battling display proved enough to get the nod.
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