NORTON, Mass. – European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke made his three captain’s picks this week, going with veterans Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer and rookie Thomas Pieters.
While Rory McIlroy, who will be a leader on Clarke’s team next month at Hazeltine National, applauded his captain’s picks on Thursday at TPC Boston, he acknowledged it was a tough choice considering how well Russell Knox has played this season.
“If I was Russell Knox right now, I'd be feeling very hard done with the year that he's had,” McIlroy said.
Knox, who has won twice on the PGA Tour this season, is 20th in the world ranking and has earned more world ranking points (140) than any of Clarke’s three picks in 2016.
Still, following Pieters’ victory last week at a European Tour event in Denmark, and his runner-up showing a week earlier at the Czech Masters, McIlroy said Clarke made the right decision.
“If you look at what Thomas Pieters has done over the last few weeks, I feel he made a mark and he played with Darren the first couple of days in Denmark and Darren could see how well he was playing,” McIlroy said. “I said earlier I wouldn't have wanted to be in Darren's shoes trying to make that call on Sunday.”
U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III will make three of his four picks after next week’s BMW Championship. His final selection will be made on Sept. 25.