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Ryder Cup mix excites Clarke

Joining the camp Tiger Woods

Masters champion Danny Willett, Chris Wood, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Andy Sullivan and Matt Fitzpatrick are the five rookies already guaranteed a seat on the plane.

That gives Darren Clarke one extra week to start contemplating his captain's picks. That, combined with Thomas Pieters' failing to defend his title and Shane Lowry not managing to finish in the top four at the Wyndham Championship, confirmed the nine automatic European qualifiers with a week to spare.

Fitzpatrick, Sullivan, Wood and Willett have also played under Clarke's captaincy before, at the EurAsia Cup in January, when Europe emphatically beat Asia 18½-5½. Pieters not only finished second this week at the Czech Masters, but he also finished fourth at the recent Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

"I've been playing well in the last couple of years, but just had a little bit of bad form at the wrong time".

"I am absolutely delighted with the nine players who have qualified", Clarke said in a statement.

Pieters and Scotland's Russell Knox - a recent victor on the PGA Tour - are among those in contention while Lowry, Graeme McDowell and Luke Donald are also pushing for inclusion.

Russell Knox: He would be a sixth first-timer for the Europeans, but Knox would be hard to ignore, given his victory in his last PGA Tour event, the Travelers Championship.

America's Peterson trailed Pieters by two shots heading into the final round, but followed his course-record 64 on Saturday with 67, to close on 15 under par and edge out Pieters by one stroke.

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Back-to-back victories would have proved sufficient to ink his name onto Europe's team sheet, but now that chance has gone.

"I think I just need to go [to Denmark] and win to catch their eye at all", Lowry told Sky Sports.