Poulter, Colsaerts join European Ryder Cup team

European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal said Monday that

picking Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium – along with England’s Ian

Poulter – as his wild-card selections is not a gamble.

The 32-year-old Poulter will be competing in his fourth Ryder

Cup since making his debut in 2004 while Colsaerts will be playing

in his first and is the only rookie on Olazabal’s squad.

”It is true Nicolas is going to be the only rookie on the team

but we do have an experienced team,” said Olazabal. ”Out of the

12 players, 11 have played Ryder Cup. They have proven they can

handle that pressure. They have the experience so we do have a very

solid team.

”He’s had a very solid season and on top of that he has made

the extra effort trying to make the team, and he really showed me

that he wanted to be part of that team and that is the reason I

chose him.”

Colsaerts was 12th in the European Ryder Cup table, two places

outside of automatic qualification. His commitment to the team was

evident when he played in the Wyndham Championship in North

Carolina and then crossed the Atlantic to tee up in the Johnnie

Walker Championship at Gleneagles last weekend in an attempt to

secure qualification.

Colsaerts, who was staying with friends in a nearby village,

said he got a call from Olazabal late Sunday night when the

Spaniard invited him to attend the Gleneagles Hotel where he was

staying ahead of the announcement.

He will be the first Belgium-born player to compete in the

85-year history of the competition.

”Well I know my phone has not stopped ringing but I do hope

this is going to put golf in a better position in (Belgian)

people’s minds, people’s heads,” he said. ”Golf is not a very

popular sport back home, and not much as it is over here in

Scotland.

”I would like to think that some of the young guys are going to

go play tournaments abroad and feel like they are part of a bit of

the golfing culture, just because I’ve finally put the Belgian flag

on the map.”

For Poulter, it is the second time he has needed a wild-card

selection after also getting one in 2008.

Poulter also learned of his selection late on Sunday night after

finishing in a share of 36th place in The Barclays tournament in

New York.

”I am just thrilled to get the call last night from Jose which

was a great moment, and I’m going to be thrilled to, again, pour

some passion over the holes at Medinah and I’ll try my best,”

Poulter said.

United States captain Davis Love III will announce his four

wild-card picks on Sept. 4 in New York.

The Ryder Cup is Sept. 28-30 at the Medinah Country Club in

Chicago.

Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Paul Lawrie, Graeme McDowell,

Francesco Molinari, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Peter

Hanson and Martin Kaymer also are on the European team.