Ian Poulter and Nicolas Colsaerts are Ryder Cup wildcards

 

Ian Poulter and Nicolas Colsaerts are the two wildcard picks in Jose Maria Olazabal's European side for the 2012 Ryder Cup in Medinah, Chicago.

England's Poulter, 36, wins his fourth cap, while Belgian Colsaerts, 29, makes his debut in the 28-30 September event.

Colsaerts played his golf on the Challenge Tour - Europe's second tier event - in 2009.

"I am living proof if you want something badly, put the work in and have passion, it can happen," he said.

European 2012 Ryder Cup team

  • Rory McIlroy (NI) Age: 23 Caps: 1
  • Justin Rose (Eng) Age: 32 Caps: 1
  • Graeme McDowell (NI) Age: 33 Caps: 2
  • Paul Lawrie (Sco) Age: 43 Caps: 1
  • Francesco Molinari (Ita) Age: 29 Caps: 1
  • Luke Donald (Eng) Age: 34 Caps: 3
  • Lee Westwood (Eng) Age: 39 Caps: 7
  • Sergio Garcia (Spa) Age: 32 Caps: 5
  • Peter Hanson (Swe) Age: 34 Caps: 1
  • Martin Kaymer (Ger) Age: 27 Caps: 1
  • Ian Poulter (Eng) Age: 36 Caps 3
  • Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) Age: 29 Caps 0

"It has been a fairy story. It is something I have wanted since I was a little kid. To be part of such a big team for a captain with such good history is something I'm very proud of."

The 10 automatic choices - those players who topped the rankings after Sunday's Johnnie Walker Championship - are Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell, Paul Lawrie, Francesco Molinari, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Peter Hanson and Martin Kaymer.

US-based Poulter, who struggled with pneumonia earlier this season, has built a reputation as a fearsome matchplay exponent.

He was the highest points scorer for either side when selected as a wildcard for the 2008 Ryder Cup at Valhalla and won three points out of four in Europe's 14½-13½ win at Celtic Manor two years ago.

He said: "I'm thrilled. To get the call last night from Jose was a great moment. I want to pour some passion over the 18 holes at Medinah like I know best."

Poulter, who made the first of his three previous appearances in the biennial event in 2004, could have take one of the automatic spots had he chosen to play in the Johnnie Walker Championship.

A 35th-place finish would have overhauled former world number one Kaymer, but Poulter opted to stay in America.

Analysis

"Ian Poulter has got the experience of playing in Ryder Cups and he is a man who can hole big putts at the right time. Nicolas Colsaerts has pedigree and he is a big hitter. How do you get experience if you don't play? Nicholas is one of the guys who has been around on the European Tour a while so he is not a complete rookie. I don't see any problems there at all."

Colsaerts, who won the World Match Play Championship in May, could also have sealed an automatic place with a top-two finish at Gleneagles, but his share of 19th meant the out-of-form German Kaymer held on to the final qualification place, despite also opting to miss the event.

Captain Olazabal explained Colsaerts, the longest hitter on the European Tour, won him over by showing his desire to play in the Ryder Cup.

"The guy has shown a lot of heart and a lot of character," he said. "The Ryder Cup is difficult but I think he has the game. It is a long course and I think he can take advantage of that."

Colsaerts will become the first Belgian to compete in the Ryder Cup and will also be the only rookie in this year's side, compared to the six that played in Wales.

Padraig Harrington, a six-time Ryder Cup veteran, was also in contention for a wildcard but failed to persuade Olazabal to select him.

Last five Ryder Cups

  • 2010, Celtic Manor, Wales: Europe beat US 14½-13½
  • 2008, Valhalla, Kentucky: US beat Europe 16½-11½
  • 2006, The K Club, Ireland: Europe beat US 18½-9½
  • 2004, Oakland Hills, Michigan: Europe beat US 18½-9½
  • 2002, The Belfry, England: Europe beat US 15½-12½

"He was 19th on the list of players and that was a little bit too far down," he said. "He took it well."

The 10 automatic choices were made up of the top five from a list based on ranking points won in European Tour events, followed by the next five best on the world rankings.

Olazabal, who played in seven Ryder Cups from 1987-2006 and was a key partner of the late Seve Ballesteros, will have four vice-captains to assist him in Chicago.

The two-time Masters champion will be joined by Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke, Ireland's Paul McGinley, Denmark's Thomas Bjorn and Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez.

Eight players have already qualified for the US team: Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson.

US captain Davis Love names his four wildcard choices on 4 September after the first two events of the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup play-offs.

The 2012 Ryder Cup will take place from 28-30 September at Medinah Country Club in Illinois. Europe have beaten the United States in four of the last five competitions.