Shock Ryder Cup call-up for Poulter

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Nick Faldo surprisingly handed England's Ian Poulter a wild card pick for next month's match against the Americans while Clarke and Colin will not feature

Updated: September 06, 2008 08:47 IST
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European captain Nick Faldo surprisingly handed England's Ian Poulter a wild card pick for next month's match against the Americans while Darren Clarke and Colin Montgomery will not feature.

Paul Casey was given the second captain's pick on Sunday to complete the 12-man line-up to play the United States in Kentucky from September 19 to 21, with the visitors going for their fourth consecutive triumph in this biennial event.

In a hugely controversial decision which means Clarke, a winner a week ago, and Montgomerie cannot extend their inspirational cup careers next month, Poulter has not paid a price for putting his US tour career before trying to qualify for the European side.

Instead Faldo has given the British Open runner-up - that was his first top-10 finish since January and he has not had one since - the chance to show that his Birkdale heroics were not a one-off this year.

Casey was a much more obvious selection following four top-10 finishes in his last seven tournaments. He won a match with a hole-in-one at the K Club two years ago and is a former World Match Play champion.

Clarke and Montgomerie said all the right things in the statements that followed their omissions, but it would be perfectly understandable if they were seething inside.

In a poll of 32 European Tour players at Gleneagles this week, only one said he would give Poulter a wild card.

There was resentment about his decision to stay away from the final counting event - third place would have made him an automatic pick and freed up Faldo to probably name the in-form Clarke - and there were many who said they simply did not rate him as highly as Clarke.

The Northern Ireland player has fought back from 258th in the world following the loss of his wife to cancer just before the last match, to his current ranking just outside the top 50.

He was also the inspiration of the 2006 team in Ireland, producing a stunning three wins out of three amid such emotional scenes.

Montgomerie, meanwhile, has been a talisman of the side for a decade, never losing a singles match in all his eight appearances.

The decision by Faldo means there are no Scots in the team for the first time since 1937 and Montgomerie, if he never plays Ryder Cup golf again, will end up two points shy of the event's record points-scorer - Faldo himself.

Oliver Wilson, Justin Rose and Soren Hansen meanwhile earned their places in the European team after their performances at the Johnnie Walker Classic at Gleneagles, won by France's Gregory Havret on Sunday.

The race for automatic Ryder Cup places was settled when England's Nick Dougherty failed to win the tournament.

US captain Paul Azinger will name his four wild cards on Tuesday. Unlike the last five US captains he has no Tiger Woods in his line-up.

European Ryder Cup team

Padraig Harrington (IRL), Sergio Garcia (ESP), Lee Westwood (ENG), Henrik Stenson (SWE), Robert Karlsson (SWE), Miguel Angel Jimenez (ESP), Graeme McDowell (NIR), Justin Rose (ENG), Soren Hansen (DEN), Oliver Wilson (ENG), Ian Poulter (ENG), Paul Casey (ENG).

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