Ryder Cup 2016: Team Europe player profiles


Darren Clarke is hoping to lead Team Europe to a fourth successive Ryder Cup triumph at Hazeltine this week.

We take a look at the 12 players - including six rookies - tasked with maintaining Europe's golden run in the biennial event.


Rafael Cabrera-Bello

World ranking: 30

Ryder Cup appearances: None

Ryder Cup record (won-lost-halved): N/A

One of the most consistent players on the European Tour in recent years, Cabrera-Bello has not won a tournament since triumphing in the lucrative Dubai Desert Classic four years ago. However, a string of impressive performances in high-profile events have earned the Spaniard a Ryder Cup debut at the age of 32. He will now hope to exhibit the form he showed at this year's WGC-Dell Match Play, where he beat the likes of Byeong Hun An and Ryan Moore before getting the better of Rory McIlroy in the third-place match.


Matt Fitzpatrick

World ranking: 44

Ryder Cup appearances: None

Ryder Cup record: N/A

The youngest player on either side this week, 22-year-old Fitzpatrick has been tipped to enjoy a stellar career. Already a two-time winner on the European Tour, the cool-headed Englishman earned his maiden Ryder Cup appearance thanks largely to some sparking performances towards the end of 2015. A dip in form put his place in Clarke's team under threat, but Fitzpatrick did enough to qualify automatically and will be buoyed by three top-10s in his last five outings.


Sergio Garcia

World ranking: 12

Ryder Cup appearances: 7 (1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2014)

Ryder Cup record: 18-9-5

Europe's most talismanic figure, Garcia has been responsible for a host of inspiring performances, akin to those produced by fellow Spaniards Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal in past Ryder Cups. Now a senior member of the team, the charismatic 36-year-old will be looked upon to enhance his own sparkling record while also providing support and guidance for those experiencing the event for the first time. Garcia boasts a particularly excellent foursomes record, having taken 10 points from 13 matches, and has managed two top-five finishes at majors in 2016.


Martin Kaymer

World ranking: 48

Ryder Cup appearances: 3 (2010, 2012, 2014)

Ryder Cup record: 4-3-3

A two-time major winner who briefly ascended to world number one in 2011, Kaymer always appeared likely to earn a captain's pick given his past efforts in the Ryder Cup and the lack of experienced automatic qualifiers. The German famously sank the putt that ensured Europe retained the cup on their last visit to the States, completing the Miracle at Medinah. After a solid but unspectacular year to date in 2016, Kaymer will be eager to enhance his reputation as a man for the big occasion.


Rory McIlroy

World ranking: 3

Previous Ryder Cup appearances: 3 (2010, 2012, 2014)

Ryder Cup record: 6-4-4 

McIlroy has been unable to achieve the sort of dominance that may have been anticipated in certain quarters after he claimed successive major titles, his third and fourth, prior to the last Ryder Cup two years ago. Nevertheless, the Northern Irishman is firmly established as one of his sport's leading performers and will be expected to play a major role for Europe at Hazeltine. A three-time winner of the Race to Dubai with a strong Ryder Cup record, McIlroy received a confidence boost earlier this month as he triumphed at the Deutsche Bank Championship for his second win of 2016, while his play-off win to claim the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup was the perfect warm-up.


Thomas Pieters

World ranking: 42

Ryder Cup appearances: None

Ryder Cup record: N/A

Big-hitting Belgian Pieters beat off stiff competition from Russell Knox to earn a wildcard pick alongside predictable selections Kaymer and Lee Westwood. Many felt Knox's experience on the PGA Tour would give the Scotsman the edge, but Pieters made an irresistible case for a place in the closing weeks of the qualifying period, following up a fourth-placed finish at the Rio Olympics by coming second behind Paul Peterson at the Czech Masters and then winning the Made in Denmark title - his third European Tour triumph at the age of 24.


Justin Rose

World ranking: 11

Ryder Cup appearances: 3 (2008, 2012, 2014)

Ryder Cup record: 9-3-2

The first Olympic champion in men's golf for over 100 years has played a key role at each of the last two Ryder Cups. Rose - the winner of the US Open at Merion in 2013 - pulled off a stunning comeback to earn a half against Phil Mickelson in the singles at Medinah, holing a monster putt to win the 17th before also beating his rival on the final hole. Two years ago, the Englishman was an undefeated member of Europe's victorious team at Gleneagles - top-scoring with four points from five matches.


Henrik Stenson

World ranking: 5

Ryder Cup appearances: 3 (2006, 2008, 2014)

Ryder Cup record: 5-4-2

Three of Rose's successes at Gleneagles came in partnership with Stenson, who surely remains on a high after claiming his first major title in stunning circumstances earlier this year. A final-round 63 in The Open at Royal Troon saw Stenson emerge victorious in a thrilling final-round duel with Phil Mickelson. Stenson duly contended at the US PGA Championship before finishing seventh and was second to Rose in the Olympics. However, the recurrence of a knee injury forced Stenson to withdraw from the recent Deutsche Bank Championship, not the ideal preparation for his fourth Ryder Cup. He holed the winning putt on debut at the K Club in 2006.


Andy Sullivan

World ranking: 50

Ryder Cup appearances: None

Ryder Cup record: N/A

Sullivan enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2015 - winning three times on the European Tour before finishing one stroke behind McIlroy at the lucrative, season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. A former Walker Cup player who has earned a reputation as one of the most affable players in the game, Sullivan showed a liking for the match play format when winning all three of his contests at the 2016 EurAsia Cup. His best result to date this year came at the Dubai Desert Classic, when he finished tied for second behind Danny Willett.


Lee Westwood

World ranking: 46

Ryder Cup appearances: 9 (1997, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014)

Ryder Cup record: 20-15-6

Of the 24 players involved at Hazeltine this week, only Mickelson has played in more Ryder Cups than Westwood, who makes his 10th successive appearance as the recipient of a captain's pick. One of the leading players in Europe for much of the last two decades, the Englishman has frequently come up agonisingly short in major championships throughout his career. However, he has often saved his best for clashes with the USA, remaining unbeaten in the 2004 and 2006 Ryder Cups.


Danny Willett

World ranking: 10

Ryder Cup appearances: None

Ryder Cup record: N/A

Another European team member to have claimed a maiden major crown in 2016, Willett memorably benefited from Jordan Spieth's remarkable collapse to triumph at Augusta in April. Like Sullivan, he also helped a team captained by Clarke to EurAsia Cup glory in January, having threatened to pip McIlroy to Race to Dubai glory in the previous season, which saw him crack the world's top 20 for the first time. Willett - one of six Englishmen in Clarke's side - achieved his best finish since the Masters when coming second at the Italian Open this month.


Chris Wood

World ranking: 32

Ryder Cup appearances: None

Ryder Cup record: N/A

Victory at this year's BMW PGA Championship proved key to Wood earning a Ryder Cup debut. Among the tallest players on the European Tour at 6ft 6in, he initially rose to prominence by catching the eye at successive Open Championships, finishing tied-fifth as an amateur at Royal Birkdale in 2008 before sharing third at Turnberry 12 months later. Wood's first title came in 2013 - a spectacular closing eagle enough to secure the Qatar Masters crown - and he won the Lyoness Open last year before landing the biggest win of his career to date at Wentworth in May.