Hazeltine-Bound: Thomas Pieters
Hazeltine-bound: Thomas Pieters
As our series of profiles is rounded off with Darren Clarke’s three wildcard selections for The 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine, we take a closer look at three-time European Tour winner and Belgian rookie, Thomas Pieters.
Born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1992, he took up golf aged five at the same time as the rest of his family after his parents played on holiday while in South Africa. Had a celebrated amateur college career in America, where he overcame Major winner Jordan Spieth and former world amateur number one Patrick Cantlay to win the NCAA Division I Golf Championship in his sophomore year at the University of Illinois. Came through all three stages of the Qualifying School in 2013 to claim his European Tour card and impressed in his debut season, finishing runner-up at the 2014 Open de España, losing a play-off. Won twice in as many appearances in the late summer of 2015, the first at the D+D REAL Czech Masters and the second two weeks later at the KLM Open. Added a third title in the final week of qualification for The 2016 Ryder Cup at Made in Denmark, where he birdied all three of the closing holes to win by one, to press his case for a wildcard pick. He becomes the second Belgian to play in The Ryder Cup after Nicolas Colsaerts in 2012.
European Tour appearances: 74
European Tour wins: 3
Top ten finishes: 13
Career earnings: €2,608,705
Ryder Cup record
2016 Qualification highlights
Won in his first appearance following the start of the points race in the KLM Open in Zandvoort last September to kick-start his bid for a Ryder Cup debut. Finished tied sixth in the Portugal Masters last October and added a top 15 at the BMW Masters in Shanghai before a second place finish early in 2016 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. Grabbed a third place at the True Thailand Classic presented by Chang in the spring before a stunning run of fourth in the Olympics, runner-up in his Prague defence, and first at Himmerland in Denmark proved enough to force Captain Clarke’s hand for a wildcard pick.
Pieters form during the points race: