Ryder Cup 2016: Lee Westwood not worried by Europe's inexperience

Lee Westwood
Lee Westwood has 42 professional tournament wins

Europe's six Ryder Cup rookies have the character to handle a hostile American crowd next month, says Lee Westwood.

Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Andy Sullivan, Matt Fitzpatrick and Chris Wood are all in the event for the first time.

"I think they can take a fight and a bit of stick," said Westwood, who will be competing in his 10th Ryder Cup.

"There's a lot of experience there. So I'm still very positive. I think we've got some world-class players."

Englishman Westwood is one of Europe captain Darren Clarke's three wildcard picks for the three-day event in Hazeltine, Minnesota.

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Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Thomas Pieters named as European wildcards

The biennial event against a United States team takes place from 30 September to 2 October.

Sullivan, who is ranked 42 in the world, also believes the rookies will be able to deal with the atmosphere.

"We are professional golfers and if we can't go out there and handle ourselves in the hostile conditions, we shouldn't be playing," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

"A lot of the guys like to show their emotions, me being one of them. When you hole a long putt and give it a fist pump, it's all part of it and I quite like that."

Russell Knox
Russell Knox claimed his second PGA Tour win with victory in the Travelers Championship in August

Scotsman Russell Knox missed out on one of the three wildcard picks, with captain Clarke saying it was one of the hardest he "has ever had to make".

Knox said Clarke had asked him to play in the Wyndham Championship, a ranking tournament that could have earned him an automatic pick for the team.

However, it began 11 days after Knox won the Travelers Championship and the Scot decided not to enter.

"I decided to take two weeks off to enjoy my win and I will never regret doing that," he told BBC Sportsound.

Analysis

BBC Sport's golf correspondent Iain Carter:

There is a unanimous feeling among people on the European Tour about the talent of Pieters. He is 24 and has only been a professional for three years but has timed his run for this tournament very well. He has the kind of form you want to bring into a Ryder Cup.

I feel huge sympathy for Knox because everything says he is one of the top 12 European players at the moment. It is very tough on the Scotsman.

Westwood is now 43 and I think there will be a lot of pressure on his shoulders because he is a wildcard pick and the captain's best mate. He has not had the best of seasons and a lot of people will be waiting to see how he performs.

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