Ryder Cup 2016: Team Europe player profiles

Justin Rose has tasted Ryder Cup glory before, will he do so in 2016?
Justin Rose has tasted Ryder Cup glory before, will he do so in 2016?

Half the European team is made up of debutants meaning there are plenty of new faces bidding to protect Europe's crown. Paul Krishnamurty previews each of the 12 in the lineup...

"Henrik Stenson was arguably the best player in the world this summer and combines both matchplay prowess and the experience this side lacks. However a recurrence of a knee injury after finishing second at the Olympics forced him out of the FedEx Cup and he hasn't been seen on the course since. Ideally, Clarke would like the option of using Stenson in all five rounds, but that looks doubtful.

Rory McIlroy

Ryder Cup Appearances: 3
Points conversion: 57%


The highest ranked European of recent years only knows being on the winning Ryder Cup side but, while he's won over 50% of his points, Rory has never truly been one of the star performers. In such an inexperienced line-up, the onus will be on him to lead from the front and surely play all five rounds. A recent win in the Deutsche Bank Championship means he'll arrive at Hazeltine with strong form credentials and he's also developed a good record in the World Matchplay, winning in 2015 and reaching the semis this year.


Justin Rose

Ryder Cup Appearances: 3
Points conversion: 71%


Justin has been quite outstanding in all three previous appearances. In 2008 at Valhalla, his partnership with Ian Poulter was the bright spot of a rare European defeat. In 2012, he led the Medinah comeback with a famous singles victory over Phil Mickelson. In 2014 at Gleneagles, he top-scored with an unbeaten four points from five. This time, he may be expected to nurse one of the rookies through. An indifferent season must be a slight worry although the former US Open champion again proved he can rise to the big occasion when winning the gold medal at the Olympics.


Henrik Stenson

Ryder Cup Appearances: 3
Points conversion: 55%


The wellbeing of the reigning Open Champion will be absolutely pivotal to Europe's chances. Stenson made a triumphant return at Gleneagles after a six year absence from the Ryder Cup, forming a perfect partnership with Justin Rose to win all three of their matches. He was arguably the best player in the world this summer and combines both matchplay prowess and the experience this side lacks. However a recurrence of a knee injury after finishing second at the Olympics forced him out of the FedEx Cup and he hasn't been seen on the course since. Ideally, Clarke would like the option of using Stenson in all five rounds, but that looks doubtful.


Lee Westwood

Ryder Cup Appearances: 9
Points conversion: 56%


The Worksop Wonder may have needed a captain's pick but he was a stone-cold certainty to get one. Much like former team-mate and European legend Colin Montgomerie, Westwood's compensation for never winning a major is a magnificent Ryder Cup record. Lee's overall strokeplay form may have deteriorated, but he's still world-class on his day as proven when finishing runner-up in the Masters. His experience will be essential in the pairs rounds, where his record is actually much better than singles. He's the ideal partner for a rookie, as illustrated alongside Jamie Donaldson at Gleneagles and Kaymer at Celtic Manor.


Sergio Garcia

Ryder Cup Appearances: 7
Points conversion: 64%


Another true Ryder Cup legend with a record to match. Few players more demonstratively come alive in team golf than Garcia, whether playing or cheering his team-mates from the sidelines. His foursomes record - winning ten out of a possible 13 points - is outstanding. Coming off an excellent season that included his first PGA Tour victory in four years, the mercurial Spaniard could well prove to be Europe's key man. He is the ideal partner for one of their six rookies - perhaps similarly accurate compatriot Rafa Cabrera Bello?


Martin Kaymer

Ryder Cup Appearances: 3
Points conversion: 55%


Kaymer holed the decisive putt at Medinah and makes his fourth straight Ryder Cup appearance thanks to a captain's pick. Very prolific early in his career, the German hasn't won since the 2014 US Open and has slipped down the game's pecking order. However he is in better form than before Medinah and, as a winner of two majors and the Players Championship before the age of 30, has pedigree when it comes to the biggest events. He generally displays nerves of steel and should be a useful ally for rookies.


Thomas Pieters

Ryder Cup Appearances: 0
Points conversion: N/A


This young Belgian grabbed a captain's pick by truly rising to the challenge during the final few weeks of qualification, winning the last event in Denmark after a couple of near-misses. Boasting immense power off the tee, there are obvious parallels to be drawn with compatriot Nicolas Colsaerts, who made a nice impression on debut at Medinah in 2012. Expect him to appear in fourballs, where that extra length offers a significant advantage.


Chris Wood

Ryder Cup Appearances: 0
Points conversion: N/A


Arguably the weak link in this European side. Wood owes his place to a strong autumn of 2015 and a career highlight victory in the BMW PGA Championship. He picked up a neck injury soon after, though, and hasn't achieved much from a light schedule since. That suggests he'll probably be restricted to a maximum of one round per day.


Danny Willett

Ryder Cup Appearances: 0
Points conversion: N/A


By winning the Masters on only his second attempt, Willett confirmed his status as one of the leading British prospects and this debut will certainly not be his last appearance. His standards dipped considerably after that Augusta breakthrough, so his return to form last week in Italy must have been a welcome relief to Clarke and the rest of the team. Danny exudes confidence and having shown he loves the big occasions, could well star at Hazeltine.


Rafael Cabrera Bello

Ryder Cup Appearances: 0
Points conversion: N/A


On paper at least, this debutant is a potential weak link and helps explain why the Betfair market is so anti-Europe. Rafa hasn't won for over four years and has never meaningfully impacted a major championship. Instead he owes his place to consistency, especially in the long game department. On the plus side, he's played well in the States this year and showed he likes this format when finishing third in the World Matchplay.


Andy Sullivan

Ryder Cup Appearances: 0
Points conversion: N/A


Another debutant whose lack of form poses a big worry for Team Europe. Sullivan has only two top-10 finishes since February, achieving very little since the summer, and will likely play a maximum of three rounds. Nevertheless, he showed serious potential during the previous year and would hardly be the first European to massively up his performance level in this team environment.


Matthew Fitzpatrick

Ryder Cup Appearances: 0
Points conversion: N/A


Though another debutant with plenty to prove, Fitzpatrick is definitely an outstanding long-term prospect, widely regarded to be destined for the very top. He's achieved plenty in Europe over the past two years, winning a couple of events and posting some strong finishes in recent weeks. However, besides an impressive seventh in the Masters, he struggled to come to terms with the PGA Tour experience.


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