Ryder Cup: Clarke changed mind on pick

2016 09 Getty Images 597915710
• Darren Clarke had late change of heart on third wildcard
• Thomas Pieters sealed the last spot after win in Denmark
• Luke Donald had been expected to fill the final berth


Had Thomas Pieters not won the Made in Denmark, it looks as though he wouldn’t have been one of Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke’s three wildcard picks.

But that spot wasn’t going to world No.20 Russell Knox – it was Luke Donald.

According to Golf Digest, late on Sunday Clarke was still planning to use his third pick on the Englishman – who has a 10-4-1 Ryder Cup record – to add experience to a European side featuring five rookies.

Read more -> Russell Knox call 'so tough', admits Clarke


Made in Denmark - Day 1

News of that spread into the public domain, with bookmaker William Hill suspending betting on Donald being named in the team on Monday afternoon after a flurry of bets in the North East of England.
"Darren was definitely leaning toward experience at that point" - Rory McIlroy

But in the end, Pieters’ win – which followed up a fourth-placed finish at the Olympics and a runner-up spot at the Czech Masters – proved too hard to ignore for Clarke as he included the Belgian in his team alongside Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer.

Read more -> Russell Knox' Ryder Cup dream isn't over yet..


Luke Donald

“Darren was definitely leaning toward experience at that point, and then Thomas did what he did,” Rory McIlroy, who has been in communication with Clarke throughout, told Golf Digest ahead of the Deutsche Bank Championship.

Clarke then called McIlroy on Monday to chat about his change of heart, but Donald himself wasn’t too disappointed about being left out in place of Pieters – who now has three European Tour wins in the last 12 months.

“I needed to play better throughout season to be more upset,” Donald told Golf Digest. “But there was a point where I had a real chance.”

Ryder Cup :: Did Clarke make the right call?

Do you think Darren Clarke was right to pick Thomas Pieters over Luke Donald right at the last minute for his Ryder Cup team? Leave your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section below.

Golf News

How to make bunkered Fantasy Golf points at the Ryder Cup
Twitter goes into meltdown after Tiger Woods win
IN PICS - How Tiger Woods completed one of sport's greatest comebacks
He's done it! Tiger Woods ends winless drought!
"I owe Tiger Woods an apology."

Other Top Stories

Tiger Woods puts new irons in the bag
New Fife golf course gets go ahead
Review: Adare Manor, Ireland's rejuvenated masterpiece
Win a spot in the ASI Scottish Open Pro-Am with Hilton
Padraig Harrington targets 2020 Ryder Cup captaincy

Quick tips with Denis Pugh and Peter Barber See all videos right arrow

play button
A lesson for cack-handed golfers
play button
How to play better golf after a hip replacement
play button
Commit to each swing
play button
A flatter swing plane will help cure your slice
See all videos right arrow