Ryder Cup: Meet the 12-man Euro squad

The 2012 European Ryder Cup team at Medinah CC.

The 2012 European Ryder Cup team at Medinah CC.

MEDINAH, Ill. -- The European Ryder Cup squad will feature a roster full of veterans, with only Nicolas Colsaerts making his maiden appearance at the biennial event.

Lee Westwood (7 appearances) and Sergio Garcia (5) are the elder statesmen for the squad.

There are eight players in their 30s on the European squad, with one in their 40s (Paul Lawrie) and three in their 20s (Rory McIlroy the youngest at 23).

Jose Maria Olazabal is the captain for the European squad, while Darren Clarke, Thomas Bjorn, Paul McGinley and Miguel Angel Jimenez will assist Olazabal.

Here is a player-by-player look at the European squad, including their records in previous Ryder Cups and history at Medinah for the 1999 and 2006 PGA Championships.

• • •

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Nicolas Colsaerts

Age: 29

Years played: First appearance

Finish at 1999 PGA: N/A

Finish at 2006 PGA: N/A

The skinny: The long-bombing rookie has improved from 72nd to 35th in the Official World Golf Ranking this year. He’s in good form, having finished in the top-10 in three of his past four starts, and no worse than 19th in that span.

• • •

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Luke Donald

Age: 34

Years Played: 2004, 2006, 2010

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): 8-2-1

Singles (W-L-H): 2-1-0

Foursomes (W-L-H): 6-0-0

Fourballs (W-L-H): 0-1-1

Finish at 1999 PGA: N/A

Finish at 2006 PGA: T-3

The skinny: The European is actually a local, having attended Northwestern and living in Chicago. He’s undefeated in foursomes, going 6-0-0. He paired with Sergio Garcia on Wednesday as the team practiced foursomes.

• • •

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Sergio Garcia

Age: 32

Years Played: 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): 14-6-4

Singles (W-L-H): 1-4-0

Foursomes (W-L-H): 8-0-1

Fourballs (W-L-H): 5-2-3

Finish at 1999 PGA: 2nd

Finish at 2006 PGA: T-3

The skinny: Medinah was site of Garcia’s introduction to the United States. He also finished third here in 2006, showing that he loves this place. He’s coming off his recent win at the Wyndham Championship and third-place finish at The Barclays.

• • •

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Peter Hanson

Age: 34

Years Played: 2010

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): 1-2-0

Singles (W-L-H): 0-1-0

Foursomes (W-L-H): 0-1-0

Fourballs (W-L-H): 1-0-0

Finish at 1999 PGA: N/A

Finish at 2006 PGA: N/A

The skinny: Remember this year’s Masters, when Hanson was the 54-hole leader? You may have forgotten that Hanson also played in the 2010 Ryder Cup. The Swede gets overlooked by Europe’s flashier personalities, but he’s a solid player, ranking 25th in the Official World Golf Ranking. Hanson won in his last start, at the KLM Open.

• • •

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Martin Kaymer

Age: 27

Years Played: 2010

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): 2-1-1

Singles (W-L-H): 0-1-0

Foursomes (W-L-H): 0-0-1

Fourballs (W-L-H): 2-0-0

Finish at 1999 PGA: N/A

Finish at 2006 PGA: N/A

The skinny: It’s been a struggle this year for Kaymer, the former World No. 1 who’s fallen to 32nd in the Official World Golf Ranking. He barely hung on to the final qualifying spot for this European team. He is coming off a fifth-place finish in his last start, at the Italian Open, though.

• • •

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Paul Lawrie

Age: 43

Years Played: 1999

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): 3-1-1

Singles (W-L-H): 1-0-0

Foursomes (W-L-H): 1-1-0

Fourballs (W-L-H): 1-0-1

Finish at 1999 PGA: T-34

Finish at 2006 PGA: N/A

The skinny: Lawrie is making his first appearance since 1999, the year he won the Open Championship. He’s experienced a career resurgence, winning three times in the past two years, including at the recent Johnnie Walker Championship.

• • •

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Graeme McDowell

Age: 33

Years Played: 2008, 2010

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): 4-2-2

Singles (W-L-H): 2-0-0

Foursomes (W-L-H): 1-1-1

Fourballs (W-L-H): 1-1-1

Finish at 1999 PGA: N/A

Finish at 2006 PGA: T-37

The skinny: The 2010 U.S. Open champion secured Europe’s winning point last time around. Look for him to be Rory McIlroy’s frequent partner this week. They played three sessions together in 2010, going 1-1-1.

• • •

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Rory McIlroy

Age: 23

Years Played: 2010

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): 1-1-2

Singles (W-L-H): 0-0-1

Foursomes (W-L-H): 1-1-0

Fourballs (W-L-H): 0-0-1

Finish at 1999 PGA: N/A

Finish at 2006 PGA: N/A

The skinny: McIlroy is the European player since 1993 to arrive at the Ryder Cup as the world’s top-ranked player. He’s coming off his impressive FedEx Cup playoffs, where he shot 40 under par over two weeks to claim the Deutsche Bank Championship and BMW Championship. He was 10th at last week’s Tour Championship after a 4-over 74 in the final round.

• • •

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Francesco Molinari

Age: 30

Years Played: 2010

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): 0-2-1

Singles (W-L-H): 0-1-0

Foursomes (W-L-H): 0-1-0

Fourballs (W-L-H): 0-0-1

Finish at 1999 PGA: N/A

Finish at 2006 PGA: N/A

The skinny: He’s back at the Ryder Cup. His brother, Edoardo, is not. They went 0-1-1- together. Francesco, who’s known for his consistent ballstriking but struggles with the putter, had back-to-back runner-up finishes earlier this summer on the European Tour, but has just one top-10 in his past five starts there.

• • •

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Ian Poulter

Age: 36

Years Played: 2004, 2008, 2010

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): 8-3-0

Singles (W-L-H): 3-0-0

Foursomes (W-L-H): 2-1-0

Fourballs (W-L-H): 3-2-0

Finish at 1999 PGA: N/A

Finish at 2006 PGA: T-9

The skinny: Like Colin Montgomerie and Sergio Garcia, Poulter is a player who rises to the occasion at the Ryder Cup. Just look at his 3-0-0 singles record. Poulter was a captain’s pick, but nearly played his way onto the team by finishing third at the PGA Championship. He failed to advance to the Tour Championship, finishing 12th in his last start, at the BMW Championship. Poulter, a former club pro, always plays with a chip on his shoulder. That’s a big asset this week.

• • •

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Justin Rose

Age: 32

Years Played: 2008

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): 3-1-0

Singles (W-L-H): 1-1-0

Foursomes (W-L-H): 2-1-1

Fourballs (W-L-H): 1-0-0

Finish at 1999 PGA: N/A

Finish at 2006 PGA: T-41

The skinny: Hard to believe this is just Rose’s second Ryder Cup appearance. The Sean Foley student, the world’s fifth-ranked player, is coming off a runner-up at the Tour Championship. He also was third at the PGA Championship, and collected the biggest win of his career, at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, earlier this year. Look for Rose and Poulter to form an all-English duo this week.

• • •

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Lee Westwood

Age: 39

Years Played: 1997, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): 16-11-6

Singles (W-L-H): 2-5-0

Foursomes (W-L-H): 7-2-4

Fourballs (W-L-H): 7-4-2

Finish at 1999 PGA: T-16

Finish at 2006 PGA: T-29

The skinny: Westwood thrives in team play, going a combined 14-6-6 in the two team formats. Perhaps that’s why he was paired with two inexperienced players – Colsaerts and Francesco Molinari – in Wednesday’s practice rounds. Westwood hasn’t been his usual consistent self, though. He followed a runner-up finish at the BMW Championship with a last-place finish at the Tour Championship. Which Westwood will appear this week will be important to the Europeans.

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