• Betting suspended on Luke Donald being named wildcard
• Odds tumbled from 5/2 to 1/100 within a couple of hours
• He is expected to be named alongside Kaymer & Westwood
Betting has been suspended on former world No.1 Luke Donald joining Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood as wildcard picks for next month’s Ryder Cup.
Before lunchtime, the 38-year-old Englishman was as high as 5/2 with bookmaker William Hill to be selected by captain Darren Clarke, with that falling to 2/1, then 6/4, in the minutes and hours that followed before betting was suspended on the market at around 2pm (pic below) with him at 1/100.
Read more -> Darren Clarke looking towards experience
Kaymer and Westwood were already heavy favourites to be included in the European team and it looks as though Clarke has opted for experience over form with pre-weekend favourite Russell Knox and Made in Denmark winner Thomas Pieters set to be overlooked.
Luke Donald hasn’t won on either of the two main tours since the 2012 BMW PGA Championship and in mid-April, he fell to his lowest world ranking (No.95) since February 2004 when he failed to qualify for the Masters. And, at a point early in 2015, he admitted that he even thought about giving up golf.
Read more -> Luke Donald: "I won't give up on Ryder Cup"
However, the latter part of the season has seen a slight upturn in form, with runner-up finishes at the RBC Heritage and, two weeks ago at the Wyndham Championship, lifting him up to No.64.
He is yet to be defeated in his four Ryder Cup appearances (2004, 2006, 2010 and 2012) and has a strong individual resume with a record of 10-4-1, particularly impressing in foursomes (6-2-0).
If Luke Donald does get the nod, both Knox and Pieters can count themselves desperately unlucky. The Scot would have been in the side automatically had the points from his WGC-HSBC Champions win in November counted, while Pieters tasted glory in Denmark playing alongside Clarke which followed a runner-up finish at the Czech Masters and fourth at the Olympics.
"Rumours that Luke Donald might be getting a pick from Darren Clarke reached us first thing this morning and, since then, we've watched as the odds on the Englishman have tumbled to the point that he was 1/100 when betting was suspended by most bookmakers.
"Whilst his form has been poor of late - finishing second at The Wyndham Championship excepted - there is still a strong case for including him. He has a sensational record in foursomes, which has been so decisive in recent Ryder Cup contests. He is also a ready-made partner for Sergio Garcia, whom he has teamed-up with to great effect previously.
"However, just as significantly, picking him allows Clarke to completely side-step the 'Pieters over Knox, Knox over Pieters' decision. It's a bold move and Clarke can expect severe criticism for going with experience ahead form if Europe lose. Win, however, and it'll be forgotten in an instant.
"All that being said, if these rumours prove to be true, Knox and Pieters both have just cause to be very disappointed indeed."
• Michael McEwan, Assitant Editor
Luke Donald :: The right call?
If the bookies are to be believed, do you think Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer are the right choices made by Clarke? Leave your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section below.