McGinley names picks for European Ryder Cup team

Surrey, England ( - European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley selected Stephen Gallacher, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood as his three captains picks on Tuesday morning.

This will be the first Ryder Cup for Gallacher. Poulter has played in four Ryder Cups, including the last three. Westwood is the most senior member of the group as this will mark his ninth consecutive Ryder Cup.

"I'm a very lucky man to have such a variety of talent to choose from. There's some real, quality players, who performed incredibly well, who were not going to make the team, and it was a very difficult call to those guys involved," McGinley stated. "On the positive side, I think that we have three players that will add a lot to the nine already qualified and make the European team as strong as it needs to be to take on the might of America."

Those three will join Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Victor Dubuisson and Jamie Donaldson, who qualified via the European Points List, along with Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer, Thomas Bjorn and Graeme McDowell, who qualified via the World Points List.

Gallacher, who's uncle Bernard Gallacher played in eight Ryder Cups, needed a second-place finish or better last weekend at the Italian Open. He narrowly missed out as he finished third for his eighth top-10 of the season.

The Scotsman won his second straight Dubai Desert Classic earlier this year and was runner-up at the Nordea Masters. Gallacher has lost in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship each of the last two years and lost his only two matches at the 2013 Volvo World Match Play Championship.

"I think his performance last week under the spotlight was huge. You look back at the end of his career, and whatever he may go on to achieve, that would be one of his highlights, if not the most highlight. All credit to him," McGinley said of Gallacher.

"People talk about Sunday, where he shot the second-best score of the day in 65, and that was a tremendous score, but for me, the afternoon on Friday is where he really, really showed he wanted to be a Ryder Cup player. I think he was 14 shots the leader at that stage, knowing he needed a 1-2 finish and to come home in 30 to get himself within touching distance of the leaders, that showed a lot."

Poulter has been a stalwart in the Ryder Cup, but he has also won the WGC- Accenture Match Play Championship and the Volvo World Match Play Championship. He was a bright spot in Europe's loss in 2008, when he went 4-1.

The Englishman followed with a 3-1 mark at the 2010 Ryder Cup. As a captains pick in 2012, Poulter went 4-0 and his singles win over Webb Simpson tied the matches at 10-10, after the U.S. led 10-6 entering the singles session.

"It's always difficult to make the Ryder Cup team, and this one was no different," said Poulter. "There were players that rallied hard at the end to try and show a lot of form to put Paul under pressure to make picks. Paul had to make a difficult decision with fantastic players to pick from."

Westwood has posted an 18-13-6 record in the last eight Ryder Cups. Following a tie for seventh at the Masters earlier this year, Westwood won the Malaysian Open. His only other top-10 this season was a tie for sixth at the Players Championship.

The 40-year-old is just 3-5 in singles, but is 7-4-4 in foursomes and 8-4-2 in fourball action.

"I think the European team is getting harder and harder to make, every couple of years. I guess that's why Paul's faced such a difficult decision," Westwood stated.

Among those passed over for selection was four-time Ryder Cup performers Luke Donald and Miguel Angel Jimenez, as well as Francesco Molinari, who has competed in the last two Ryder Cups for Europe.

McGinley also noted that he considered Bernhard Langer, the captain of the winning 2004 European team and a 10-time performer in the Ryder Cup. Langer has won five times on the Champions Tour this season, including two major championships.

Europe rallied for a 14 1/2 - 13 1/2 victory at Medinah in 2012. That was their second straight Ryder Cup victory, and fifth win in the last six Cups. The last United States victory in Europe was back in 1993, when Tom Watson led the U.S. to a 15-13 victory over Bernard Gallacher's team.

Watson will once again lead the U.S. team this year, and he will make his picks later Tuesday.

This year's Ryder Cup will take place at Gleneagles in Scotland from September 26-28.