Ryder Cup LogoRyder Cup: Team USASeptember 22-24 2006, The K Club, Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland
Story Image Lee Westwood (l) and Darren Clarke have enjoyed great success in past Ryder Cups both playing together and with other partners. (Photo: Getty Images)

Woosnam Picks Clarke and Westwood

Captain Ian Woosnam has chosen Ireland's Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood of England as his two wild card selections for The Ryder Cup.

03 September 2006

Captain Ian Woosnam has chosen Ireland's Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood of England as his two wild card selections for The Ryder Cup, thus completing the European Team for the contest against the United States at The K Club from September 22-24.

The Welshman unveiled his choices at a press conference following the conclusion of the final counting event, the BMW International Open at Golfclub Munchen-Nord, Eichenried.

The two players join the ten who qualified automatically through The Ryder Cup World Points List and The Ryder Cup European Points List, namely: Paul Casey, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Padraig Harrington, David Howell, Robert Karlsson, Paul McGinley, Colin Montgomerie, Jose Maria Olazabal and Henrik Stenson.

Clarke and Westwood will bring a wealth of experience to the side having, between them, captured 26 European Tour International Schedule titles (Clarke 10, Westwood 16) as well as having been part of the last four European Ryder Cup Teams, enjoying victories at Club de Golf Valderrama in 1997, The De Vere Belfry in 2002 and at Oakland Hills in 2004.

"I'd like to say something on both players," said Woosnam. "They are magnificent players. Darren has had his problems in the last couple of years, but he's a magnificent player, he's been a great player in The Ryder Cup.

"And Lee Westwood, you know, he's won many tournaments around the world. His last record in The Ryder Cup, four and a half points, stands for itself. Lee has also won twice around The K Club, and I think that has persuaded me to go for Lee."

Clarke said: "I was both honoured and delighted by Ian Woosnam's invitation to play in this year's Ryder Cup. I certainly would not have considered making myself available unless I felt I could contribute to the cause.

"It's going to be fantastic to play in Ireland and it will be a great occasion for everybody. I turned professional when I had the chance to play Walker Cup there so representing Europe in The Ryder Cup will make up for the past.

"It's going to be a magnificent week and I would not have wanted to miss it ... and neither would my lovely wife Heather.

"I have been honing my game at home and in this weekend's club championship at Queenwood, which I managed to successfully defend. Now I have one more week to prepare for my return to the European Tour in Madrid."

Westwood said: "It's a huge relief to have made the team and I am so glad that I made the effort to come to Germany.

"Even after I arrived on Wednesday I wasn't sure I had done the right thing because I felt absolutely terrible ... and I definitely would not have played if it had been any other week other than the last one for Ryder Cup qualification.

"I felt I had to show just how much I wanted to be in the team even though I should have been in bed recovering from tonsilitis. As the week's gone on I have started to feel better and better and I'm glad I made the effort.

"I am delighted that Ian Woosnam has shown his faith in me and I will do everything I possibly can to repay him at The K Club where I have enjoyed success in the past.

"Everybody loves their golf in Ireland and it's going to be an occasion not to be missed. I am just very pleased and honoured to have the chance to represent Europe again after being a part of the last four matches."

U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Tom Lehman said: "No-one who has ever had to go through the process of selecting only two out of a group of supremely gifted players can ever understand how difficult that decision is to make. I understand and am filled with genuine admiration for what Captain Woosnam has done with his selections.

"Darren and Lee make an already strong European Team even stronger yet, and the inclusion of Darren Clarke is more than appropriate. The American team in its entirety is pleased that he will be a part of the upcoming Ryder Cup.

"Congratulations to Ian and all of the members of The 2006 European Ryder Cup Team. The American Team looks forward to competing against you all in a once in a lifetime opportunity in late September in Ireland."

Video Highlights

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