Ryder Cup captains look for right balance

Wed Jul 27, 2016 7:31pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

SPRINGFIELD, New Jersey (Reuters) - Ryder Cup captains Davis Love III and Darren Clarke are both looking for balance on their respective teams as they move closer to assembling their squads for the matches at Hazeltine.

The Ryder Cup match play competition will be held Sept. 30-Oct. 2 in Minnesota, with Europe dominating of late with eight wins from the last 10 biennial matches.

"In our automatic qualifying positions right now we have five rookies in there, with one of them being the Masters champion," Northern Irishman Clarke told reporters at Baltusrol on the eve of Thursday's opening round of the PGA Championship.

European frontrunners include green jacket winner Danny Willett, his fellow Englishmen Chris Wood, Andy Sullivan and Matthew Fitzpatrick, and Spain's Rafa Cabrera Bello.

Nine players earn automatic berths on the 12-man Europe Team by the end of August, with Clarke later naming three captain's picks to complete the team.

"With five rookies currently in, I'll probably be looking towards experience to balance the team," Clarke said.

"You know, you've got the likes of Lee Westwood, who has been playing very well again. He's just outside the qualification points at the moment and there are a few other seasons guys that are right there too."

Among veterans poised to claim automatic berths were four-times major winner Rory McIlroy, British Open winner Henrik Stenson, former U.S. Open champion Justin Rose and Spanish stalwart Sergio Garcia.   Continued...

Jul 26, 2016; Springfield, NJ, USA; Davis Love III speaks to the media during a practice round for the 2016 PGA Championship golf tournament at Baltusrol GC - Lower Course. Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports