LONDON (Reuters) – Twice major winner Martin Kaymer has urged European captain Darren Clarke to pick Belgian Thomas Pieters on Tuesday as one of his three wildcard choices for next month’s Ryder Cup at Hazeltine, Minnesota.
Pieters is in red-hot form after winning the Made In Denmark event on Sunday, finishing second at the preceding Czech Masters and claiming fourth place at this month’s Rio Olympics.
“If I would be the captain he would be my pick for sure because he brings something special to the team,” Kaymer told Sky Sports television after playing alongside the 24-year-old in the final round in Denmark.
“Thomas hits the ball very far, is very good with the short game and obviously proved he can play under pressure very well.”
Kaymer won the 2010 U.S. PGA Championship and 2014 U.S. Open and has featured in the last three Ryder Cups, all won by Europe.
The German has missed out on automatic selection this time but he and experienced Englishman Lee Westwood are expected to be two of Clarke’s wildcard choices to play the United States starting on Sept. 30.
The third pick seems to be between Pieters, Scotland’s Russell Knox and Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland who has played in each of the last four editions.
Five of the nine automatic selections, Danny Willett, Chris Wood, Andy Sullivan, Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Matt Fitzpatrick, are Ryder Cup rookies so Clarke may decide to balance his 12-man team by going for experience with his wildcards.
“It would be another great experience of a golfing career to play four Ryder Cups in a row… it would be amazing,” said Kaymer who holed the putt that kept the trophy in Europe’s possession in the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ in Illinois in 2012.
(Writing by Tony Jimenez; Editing by Clare Fallon)