MUNICH, Germany -- Darren Clarke, who hasn't played since
the British Open while coping with his wife's death, was selected
Sunday for the Ryder Cup as Europe completed its team for this
month's showdown with the United States.
Ian Woosnam took Clarke and Lee Westwood as his two captain's
picks. Paul McGinley and Jose Maria Olazabal qualified for the
European team after the BMW International Open, the final event to
make the Ryder Cup team.
The matches will be Sept. 22-24 at The K Club in Ireland. Europe
is defending champion and has won four of the last five times.
The rest of the European team consists of Paul Casey,
Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Padraig Harrington, David Howell,
Robert Karlsson, Colin Montgomerie and Henrik Stenson, who won the BMW
International Open in a playoff.
"They're going to have a pretty good team over there," Tiger Woods said at the Deutsche Bank Championship in Norton, Mass. "You've got some experience, and obviously some inspiration as well with Darren on the team and all the things that he's had to
Clarke has not competed since missing the cut at the British
Open, wanting to spend time with his wife, Heather, who died Aug.
10 of cancer. He plans to play the Madrid Masters a week before the
"Clarke is not a risk given the circumstances," Woosnam said.
"He practices every day and is going to play in the Madrid Open. I
am sure he will be up for it. Darren is a great golfer and has a
great Ryder Cup record.
"Heather would have loved him playing in the Ryder Cup," he
added. "He won't be thinking about anything other than winning."
Woosnam, a former Masters champion, said he didn't have time to
give Westwood the news. But Westwood, who played at the BMW
International in Munich despite tonsillitis, was delighted when he
learned of Woosnam's decision.
"I will do everything I possibly can to repay him at The K
Club," the Englishman said. "Everybody loves their golf in
Ireland, and it's going to be an occasion not to be missed."
Clarke and Westwood are close friends who have played on every
Ryder Cup team since 1997. They have a 4-2 record when playing
together, including a 1-up victory over Woods and
Phil Mickelson two years ago at Oakland Hills.
"Darren and Lee made an already strong European team even
stronger yet, and the inclusion of Darren Clarke is more than
appropriate," U.S. captain Tom Lehman said. "The American team in
its entirety is pleased that he will be a part of the upcoming
Europe won the last Ryder Cup 18½-9½ at Oakland Hills, its
largest margin of victory. The Americans last won in 1999 at
Brookline, Mass., and they haven't won in Europe since 1993 at The
Belfry in England.
"What we have got to make sure we don't do is get complacent,"
Woosnam said. "We have got to use what we have done over the last
20 years and work out why we played so well and keep doing what we
This will be the third straight Ryder Cup appearance for
McGinley, who captured a place despite missing the cut at the BWM
"It is a huge relief," McGinley said. "I have been under a
great deal of pressure recently and now I feel as if a huge weight
has been lifted from me. Now I can get ready for one of the biggest
weeks of my life without worrying or having to look over my
shoulder. It is going to be a fantastic week and I would have hated
not to have been part of it."
Olazabal, back on the team after a seven-year absence, will be
in his seventh Ryder Cup. He decided to skip this week's event in
Munich even though he was in danger of not getting an automatic
Going into the final round, only Paul Broadhurst and Thomas
Bjorn had a chance to catch McGinley and Olazabal for automatic
spots. But Broadhurst failed to finish in the top three while
Bjorn, who needed to win the title, slipped out of contention
despite a 67 in the final round.