'Lucky' McGinley picks Westwood, Poulter, Gallacher

Tue Sep 2, 2014 1:05pm EDT
 
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By Tony Jimenez

LONDON (Reuters) - Paul McGinley called himself "a very lucky man" after Europe's Ryder Cup captain dipped into an overflowing selection box before opting for Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Stephen Gallacher as his wildcard picks on Tuesday.

The trio join automatic qualifiers Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Victor Dubuisson, Thomas Bjorn, Jamie Donaldson and Graeme McDowell in a 12-man team for the Sept. 26-28 matches against the United States.

Poulter, 38, the fierce, bulging-eyed competitor who inspired the remarkable "Miracle in Medinah" comeback victory two years ago, has had an injury-plagued season but a European team without him seems almost unthinkable.

Former world number one Westwood, 41, has played in the last eight Ryder Cups while 39-year-old rookie Gallacher will be making his debut in the biennial team event on home soil at Gleneagles, Scotland.

Among the players to miss out on a pick were former world number one Luke Donald, Italian Francesco Molinari, veteran pair Bernhard Langer and Miguel Angel Jimenez, England's Paul Casey and Dutchman Joost Luiten.

"I'm a very lucky man to have such a variety of talent to choose from," McGinley told a news conference at Wentworth on the outskirts of London. "There are some real quality players who haven't made the team.

"But on the positive side I think we have three players who will add a lot to the nine who have already qualified and make the European team as strong as it needs to be to take on the might of America."

McGinley said Gallacher, who almost displaced McDowell as the ninth automatic qualifier when he finished third at the Italian Open on Sunday, thoroughly deserved his selection.   Continued...

 
Aug 8, 2014; Louisville, KY, USA; PGA golfer Ian Poulter tees off on the 2nd hole during the second round of the 2014 PGA Championship golf tournament at Valhalla Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports