Poulter, Westwood, Gallacher picked for Ryder Cup - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Poulter, Westwood, Gallacher picked for Ryder Cup

Posted: Updated:
(AP Photo/Stew Milne). Luke Donald, of England, hits his tee shot on the 14th hole during the first round of the Deutsche Bank Championship golf tournament in Norton, Mass., Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Stew Milne). Luke Donald, of England, hits his tee shot on the 14th hole during the first round of the Deutsche Bank Championship golf tournament in Norton, Mass., Friday, Aug. 29, 2014.
  • NationalMore>>

  • Judge changes but won't lift Ga. man's banishment

    Judge changes but won't lift Ga. man's banishment

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 1:32 PM EDT2014-09-16 17:32:17 GMT
    A Georgia man who was banned from most of the state for firing at a house is being allowed to live with his mother, but he can't leave the county.
    A Georgia man who fired a gun at a home and was later banished from most of the state can live with his mother, but is not allowed out of the county, a judge ruled Tuesday.
  • House panel: Safety agency mishandled GM recall

    House panel: Safety agency mishandled GM recall

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 1:32 PM EDT2014-09-16 17:32:15 GMT
    A House committee has determined that the government's auto safety agency should have discovered General Motors' faulty ignition switches seven years before the company recalled 2.6 million cars to fix the...
    The agency responsible for safety on the nation's roads was years late in detecting a deadly problem with General Motors cars and lacks the expertise to oversee increasingly complex vehicles, congressional Republicans...
  • Racing wildfire engulfs homes in California town

    Racing wildfire engulfs homes in California town

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 1:22 PM EDT2014-09-16 17:22:28 GMT
    Dan Linville and his son were sitting in their living room when they smelled smoke. When they looked outside, they saw a black cloud coming over the hills.
    Fire crews aided by calmer winds and aircraft knocked down a wildfire Tuesday that damaged or destroyed 100 homes and a church and forced more than 1,000 people to flee a small town near the Oregon border.
By ROB HARRIS
AP Sports Writer

VIRGINIA WATER, England (AP) - It was not an easy phone call for European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley - breaking the news to Luke Donald that he was being left off the team to face the United States at Gleneagles this month.

Donald is a former No. 1 who has lifted the trophy with Europe on each of his four Ryder Cup appearances. But he was the big omission when McGinley picked Stephen Gallacher, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter as his three wild-card selections Tuesday.

"That was a very, very difficult conversation - my relationship with Luke is very close," said McGinley, who was Donald's playing partner for the Englishman's first Ryder Cup match. "He was very, very disappointed, and rightly so. ...His record in the Ryder Cup stands with anybody in the game."

Donald has one of the best short games in the world and is a brilliant putter, making him a key player in Europe's wins in 2004, '06, '10 and '12.

But he has struggled for form this year after making changes to his swing. Second place at the RBC Heritage in April was his last top-30 finish on the PGA Tour, a shadow of the player who rose to No. 1 and was the leading money-winner on both sides of the Atlantic in 2011.

McGinley said Donald reacted in classy fashion when told he wasn't being selected.

"Even though you have not picked me, I still believe you'll be a great captain," McGinley quoted him as saying. "His last few words were: 'Go Europe.' I think that says a lot about Luke."

McGinley has three rookies in the 12-man team that will face the U.S. in Scotland from Sept. 26-28, with Gallacher joining Victor Dubuisson and Jamie Donaldson.

The other players who qualified automatically for McGinley's team were Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer, Thomas Bjorn and Graeme McDowell.

McGinley announced his captain's picks at European Tour headquarters at Wentworth hours before U.S. captain Tom Watson was to reveal his.

McGinley said it came down to a choice between Donald and Westwood.

"Lee just slightly pipped him," McGinley said.

For McGinley, the fact Gallacher lives only 35 miles (56 kms) from Gleneagles and would be a crowd favorite did not factor into the decision-making process.

"There's no doubt Stevie Gallacher has proved himself and earned his spot on this team," McGinley said.

The 39-year-old Scot narrowly missed out on automatic selection after finishing third at the Italian Open on Sunday. A top-two finish would have seen him oust McDowell as the final qualifier.

But it was Gallacher's eighth top-10 finish in 2014, leaving him as the form player of the four in contention. Gallacher has played well at Gleneagles in recent years, losing out in a three-man playoff at the Johnnie Walker Championship in 2013.

"Of course it's a concern to me that he's a rookie, and it's very difficult to pick a rookie for a Ryder Cup," McGinley said. "But I've said all along from day one, I'm not afraid to pick a rookie if he proves himself."

Gallacher's uncle, Bernard, captained Europe in the Ryder Cup in 1991, '93 and '95.

"It's massive for me and my family," Gallacher said after calling into the news conference. "It was a long day yesterday (waiting for the call) ... A couple of drinks settled me down nicely."

Europe is defending the trophy after its 14½-13½ win over the United States at Medinah in 2012. Poulter, Westwood and Donald have been stalwarts for Europe over the past decade, helping the team win five of the last six cups, but haven't been in top form this year.

Poulter usually saves his best performances for the Ryder Cup. He has 12 wins from 15 matches, and is on a seven-match winning streak - the last four coming at the "Miracle in Medinah" when Europe came from 10-6 down on the final day to retain the cup.

"Ian Poulter is a bundle of energy whenever you speak to him. You could feel the energy coming down the phone," McGinley said.

Westwood will be playing in his ninth straight Ryder Cup, with his accuracy from tee to green likely counting in his favor. He has played well below his best for much of 2014 but won the Malaysian Open in April and responded to calls from McGinley to show some form by shooting a final-round 63 at the Bridgestone Invitational last month before finishing tied for 15th at the PGA Championship.

"I think Paul has picked me for my experience," Westwood said. "I have played under eight different captains and pretty much seen all it can throw at you."

___

AP Sports Writer Steve Douglas contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • InternationalMore>>

  • French prime minister wins confidence vote

    French prime minister wins confidence vote

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 1:22 PM EDT2014-09-16 17:22:20 GMT
    France's prime minister faces a confidence vote in a parliament increasingly frustrated with unpopular President Francois Hollande's handling of the economy - including dissidents within his Socialist Party.
    French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has won a vote of confidence in a tense ballot, allowing him to push through economic reforms that have divided the left.
  • Belgium grants jailed rapist, murderer euthanasia

    Belgium grants jailed rapist, murderer euthanasia

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 1:22 PM EDT2014-09-16 17:22:17 GMT
    A Belgian convicted of murder and rape who has been imprisoned for almost three decades has been granted the right to die after doctors agreed his psychological condition was incurable, an official said Tuesday.
    A Belgian man convicted of murder and rape is being put to death. Yet the country doesn't have the death penalty. Confused? Authorities have granted a request for assisted suicide by the man, who says he's a menace...
  • Weakening Odile pushes up Mexico's Baja California

    Weakening Odile pushes up Mexico's Baja California

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 1:22 PM EDT2014-09-16 17:22:13 GMT
    A weakening Tropical Storm Odile pushed up Mexico's Baja California Peninsula early Tuesday, dumping heavy rains that could bring dangerous flash floods and mudslides but also a potential boon to the...
    A weakening Tropical Storm Odile pushed up Mexico's Baja California Peninsula on Tuesday, dumping heavy rains that could bring dangerous flash floods and mudslides but also a potential boon to the drought-stricken region.