Westwood, Poulter and Gallacher for Ryder

Europe’s Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley has made his three wildcard picks for Gleneagles, selecting Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Stephen Gallacher.

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But there was no place for former world number one Luke Donald, despite being ranked higher in the world than the three chosen ahead of him.

Already assured of a place in the European team for the September 26-28 showdown with the Americans in Scotland were Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Victor Dubuisson, Jamie Donaldson, Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer and Graeme McDowell.

That means that McGinley has at his disposal four of the top five ranking players in the world in McIlroy, Stenson, Garcia and Rose – all of whom have past Ryder Cup experience – along with three rookies in Dubuisson, Donaldson and Gallacher.

In all, seven players retain their place from the team that two years ago staged the greatest final day comeback in Ryder Cup history to defeat the Americans 14 1/2 to 13 1/2.

All the focus on Tuesday, however, was on which three picks skipper McGinley would make, with two former world number ones, Westwood and Donald, going up against Ryder Cup hero Poulter and 39-year-old would-be debutant Gallacher.

In the end it was Donald, a veteran of four previous European Ryder Cup wins, but who has been in relatively poor form of late, who missed out.

“I’m in a privileged position in that I had a variety of choices and it says a lot about the European Tour and the standards we have now in Europe, the quality of the picks I have and how far we’ve come over the years for me to have such an abundance of talent to choose from,” McGinley said.

The Irishman, who sunk the winning putt for Europe at the 2002 Ryder Cup, said that he had been convinced to give Gallacher his first Ryder Cup cap on the back of his third place finish in the Italian Open on Sunday.

“He’ll look back at that at the end of his career, whatever he goes on to achieve, as one of the highlights of his career, if not the highlight.”

US skipper Tom Watson will announce his three wildcard picks in New York later on Tuesday with the certainty that they will not include Tiger Woods who is unavailable through injury.

THE EUROPEANS

Rory McIlroy (NIR)

Henrik Stenson (SWE)

Victor Dubuisson (FRA)

Jamie Donaldson (WAL)

Sergio Garcia (ESP)

Thomas Bjorn (DEN)

Justin Rose (ENG)

Martin Kaymer (GER)

Graeme McDowell (NIR)

Lee Westwood (ENG)

Ian Poulter (ENG)

Stephen Gallacher (SCO)