Ryder Cup 2016: Europeans helping to raise hype over teammate Thomas Pieters

"It has got nothing to do with the message", said the world number 20.

The first journalist to speak to Russell Knox in the aftermath of Clarke's decision was AP's Doug Ferguson, with the Scot telling him that "barely speaking to" some of his prospective Ryder Cup team-mates didn't work in his favour.

Captain of the European team Darren Clarke announced his picks for the 2016 Ryder Cup on Tuesday.

European captain Darren Clarke said telling Russell Knox he had missed out on a Ryder Cup wild card was one of the toughest moments of his career. I didn't ask any questions. "After the bad news, it was get off the phone as quick as possible". He felt as though he deserved to be on the team because of his performance.

The 12-strong team has been rounded out with the inclusion of Clarke's three wildcards.

Already established as a betting favorite in Las Vegas despite having lost eight of the last 10 Ryder Cups, the USA team can change drastically depending on what Love does with his picks. The Belgium native will become just the second Illini to ever play in a Ryder Cup, when he represents Team Europe next month at Hazeltine.

Did that hurt his chances?

Many thought that Clarke would use one of his picks on Scotsman Russell Knox, who's now ranked 20th in the Official World Golf Rankings.

Knox took the disappointment with typical dignity, and passed on his best regards to Team Europe, but the 31-year-old had plenty of reason to feel somewhat aggrieved. He claims Florida as home from having lived there since college.

Thomas Pieters gave Darren Clarke a close-up view of his talent when he shot a 62 playing alongside Europe's Ryder Cup captain in Denmark last week. The captain hinted that Knox's failure to play at the Wyndham Championship in North Carolina, from which he could have gained automatic entry into the team, was significant.

Pieters, the world number 41, will be only the second Belgian after Nicolas Colsaerts to play in the Ryder Cup. They've been indispensable, even. Paul McGinley at The Belfry in 2002; Clarke at The K Club in 2006; G-Mac at Celtic Manor in 2010.

Westwood said "I'm incredibly proud".

"If it ended up hurting my [chances of a] place, I am comfortable with that".

"I said all along that I would not pick a rookie, or that I would be reticent to do so". I played with Thomas Bjorn once, and we didn't speak one word. I don't have relationships with anyone. I needed to balance the team. Would I do anything differently? No.

While saying he was disappointed, Knox also acknowledged it was time to move on.

But Knox opted to rest up to prepare for the FedEx series - where he is now sitting seventh and very much in the hunt to win - believing he already had a solid case for a wild card. He would love to win one of these next three playoff events to show Clarke what he is missing.

Clarke said they were "very obvious" selections. Making an argument for one player is to devalue the merits of another.

He added: "It's impossible to look back and say yes I would have done this or done that".

"Danny Willett is obviously the Masters champion, we've got people who have won the US Amateur and things like that, so I think it's going to be a very close contest".

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