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Olazabal has all the players and permutations he needs

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Iain Carter | 15:14 UK time, Monday, 27 August 2012

Rarely has the selection of Ryder Cup wild-cards been so straightforward.

It was no surprise when Jose Maria Olazabal named Ian Poulter and Nicolas Colsaerts to complete a line up that has the strength and blend of talent to make a confident defence of the trophy.

The fact is there is no European who can complain at not being in the side. The automatic qualification period accurately identified the top ten and it is impossible to argue against the captain's choices.

Much will be made of Colsaerts being the only rookie in the side that will travel to Medinah at the end of September.

Jose Maria Olazabal (left) welcomes Nicolas Colsaerts to the European Ryder Cup team

Olazabal's captain's picks offer experience and a range of combinations for the Ryder Cup. Photo: Getty

But it is not a team of old sweats. Along with the Belgian debutant, Rory McIlroy, Francesco Molinari, Peter Hanson and Martin Kaymer will be playing their first Ryder Cup away from home.

Lee Westwood, who will be making his eighth appearance, is the most experienced member of the European team. Sergio Garcia (5), Poulter (3) and Luke Donald (3) are the only other two have played in more than two matches.

The line up has a potent looking blend of youth and experience. "We have different sorts of players," Olazabal told BBC Sport.

"We have solid players like Luke and Lee and Rory and solid players like G-Mac [Graeme McDowell] and Ian Poulter, where they put their hearts into the matches.

"You have different characters like Francesco [Molinari] and cool characters like Martin [Kaymer] or Peter [Hanson]. So in that regard it is a great combination.

"If the players are playing well you can have different combinations that can make the team even stronger.

"We need to see how players are playing and how they feel about themselves and only then will we make decisions on pairings," Olazabal added.

The laid back Colsaerts is the team's self-confessed "cool dude". Even so he admitted to feeling nerves until he was summoned to the captain's room at the Gleneagles Hotel after the qualifying period closed on the Sunday night.

Face to face, Olazabal delivered the news the Belgian had been so desperate to hear. He is likely to complement well any of his potential partners and shouldn't be regarded as mere four-ball fodder because of his prodigious length.

The main concern surrounds the form of Martin Kaymer. The German is without a top-ten finish since the Malaysian Open in mid-April.

"We had a nice chat. He said to me that after the PGA he has worked hard for the last two weeks trying to get some form," Olazabal said.

"His schedule is to play in Holland and Italy and we will see how good his form is during those two weeks but he is determined to do well."

Olazabal sees no reason to put anyone on standby if Kaymer doesn't show any improvement. "I've played Ryder Cups when I've got to them playing great golf but I remember in '93 at the Belfry I was struggling with my game.

"Actually I made a phone call to Seve Ballesteros to say 'look, anybody else can do a better job than me' and he almost kicked my rear!

"Once you get to that week, because of the atmosphere and your team members, somehow your game improves."

Poulter brings more than points. His enthusiasm and confidence can be infectious and his 73% winning record from three matches is bettered only by Donald, who has won 77% of the Ryder Cup matches he has played in three previous contests.

From now until the matches the fun contest is to dream up potential pairings. The captain may be waiting until the week of the match but we can start now.

McIlroy and McDowell may well be joined at the hip for the week as might Poulter and Justin Rose. Donald with either Garcia or Westwood generates a fearsome combination.

Hanson alongside Paul Lawrie could work in both foursomes and four-balls and the same applies to Colsaerts and Molinari, who are of the same generation on the European Tour.

It is a team that should head to Chicago full of confidence but wary of a strong American side that boasts many of the form players of the year.

Nick Watney's victory at the Barclays thrusts him into the mind of skipper Davis Love. Next week he has to pick four from a list that also includes Hunter Mahan, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Brandt Snedeker.

Love's task is a lot less straightforward than Olazabal's was, but he will be delighted at the calibre of candidates he will be choosing from.

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