Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson headline first nine picks for European Ryder Cup team
Rory McIlroy's missed two of the past three major cuts and hasn't won on the PGA Tour since last May. But while 2016 hasn't been kind to the world's No. 5 player, the season can still be turned around with a Ryder Cup victory at Hazeltine.
McIlroy finished on top of the European Tour's standings for the fall event, headlining the nine players who earned automatic qualifying spots on Sunday. It will be the 27 year old's fourth appearance for the European squad, helping lead his team to wins in the previous three contests.
Joining McIlroy on the European marquee is Henrik Stenson, arguably the hottest name in the sport. The British Open champ, last seen battling Justin Rose for a gold medal in the Rio Olympics, will also be making his fourth appearance for the Europeans, bringing a 5-4-2 record to the table.
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 11: Sergio Garcia of Spain plays a shot from a bunker on the 16th hole during the first round of men's golf on Day 6 of the Rio 2016 Olympics at the Olympic Golf Course on August 12, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Others that earned an invite to the Ryder Cup include Rose, green jacket holder Danny Willett, Chris Wood, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Andy Sullivan, Sergio Garcia and Matthew Fitzpatrick, the final name securing his spot thanks to a fifth-place finish at the Czech Masters over the weekend. For Garcia, it will mark his eighth Ryder Cup, needing just two wins to tie fellow countryman Seve Ballesteros' Ryder Cup mark of 20 victories.
Darren Clarke will announce his three captain's picks on August 30th. The United States' eight automatic spots will be slotted following this week's Barclays event. Davis Love III will then add three captain's picks at the end of the BMW Championship (September 11th), with his final player choice coming after the Tour Championship (September 25th).
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