Ryder Cup captain's picks: A history of who has earned wild-card selections
Ryder Cup

Ryder Cup captain’s picks: A history of who has earned wild-card selections


Captain's picks (or wild-card picks) haven't always been a part of the Ryder Cup. However, they've become an integral part of the biennial competition pitting 12-man teams representing the United States against Europe in a 27 matches over three days.

The Europeans were the first side to create captain's picks, doing so in 1979, the first year that continental Europe became eligible to join what was previous a team of golfers only from Great Britain and Ireland (like the Walker Cup, the amateur equivalent). They've been doing it ever since, with the exception of 1983, adding two or three players to their team at the captain's discretion.


The United States began employing captain's picks in 1989, and they've done so in every Ryder Cup since, adding anywhere from two to four players to their team.

Some captain's picks have proven instrumental in helping their team win, or at least remain competitive. Others have been total flops. Others still have seen little action in the matches.

Ryder Cup captain's pick history, records and performance

1979EuropeJohn JacobsPeter Oosterhuis2202
1979EuropeJohn JacobsDes Smyth0200
1981EuropeJohn JacobsMark James2302
1981EuropeJohn JacobsPeter Oosterhuis0300
1985EuropeTony JacklinJose Rivero1101
1985EuropeTony JacklinKen Brown1201
1985EuropeTony JacklinNick Faldo0200
1987EuropeTony JacklinSandy Lyle3103
1987EuropeTony JacklinJose Maria Olzabal3203
1987EuropeTony JacklinKen Brown0200
1989EuropeTony JacklinHoward Clark2202
1989EuropeTony JacklinChristy O'Connor Jr1101
1989EuropeTony JacklinBernhard Langer0300
1989U.S.A.Raymond FloydLanny Wadkins2202
1989U.S.A.Raymond FloydTom Watson1111.5
1991EuropeBernard GallacherJose Maria Olzabal3113.5
1991EuropeBernard GallacherMark James2302
1991EuropeBernard GallacherNick Faldo1301
1991U.S.A.Dave StocktonRay Floyd2202
1991U.S.A.Dave StocktonChip Beck1201
1993EuropeBernard GallacherSeve Ballesteros2202
1993EuropeBernard GallacherJose Maria Olzabal2302
1993EuropeBernard GallacherJoakim Haeggman1101
1993U.S.A.Tom WatsonRay Floyd3103
1993U.S.A.Tom WatsonLanny Wadkins2112.5
1995U.S.A.Lanny WadkinsFred Couples2112.5
1995U.S.A.Lanny WadkinsCurtis Strange0300
1995EuropeBernard GallacherNick Faldo2202
1995EuropeBernard GallacherIan Woosnam1111.5
1997U.S.A.Tom KiteLee Janzen2102
1997U.S.A.Tom KiteFred Couples2202
1997EuropeSeve BallesterosJesper Parnevik1122
1997EuropeSeve BallesterosNick Faldo2302
1999U.S.A.Ben CrenshawTom Lehman2102
1999U.S.A.Ben CrenshawSteve Pate2102
1999EuropeMark JamesJesper Parnevik3113.5
1999EuropeMark JamesAndrew Coltart0100
2002U.S.A.Curtis StrangeScott Verplank2102
2002U.S.A.Curtis StrangePaul Azinger0110.5
2002EuropeSam TorranceSergio Garcia3203
2002EuropeSam TorranceJesper Parnevik0110.5
2004U.S.A.Hal SuttonStewart Cink1211.5
2004U.S.A.Hal SuttonJay Haas1211.5
2004EuropeBernhard LangerColin Montgomerie3103
2004EuropeBernhard LangerLuke Donald2112.5
2006U.S.A.Tom LehmanScott Verplank2002
2006U.S.A.Tom LehmanStewart Cink1132.5
2006EuropeIan WoosnamDarren Clarke3003
2006EuropeIan WoosnamLee Westwood3024
2008U.S.A.Paul AzingerChad Campbell2102
2008U.S.A.Paul AzingerJ.B. Holmes2012.5
2008U.S.A.Paul AzingerHunter Mahan2033.5
2008U.S.A.Paul AzingerSteve Stricker0210.5
2008EuropeNick FaldoIan Poulter4104
2008EuropeNick FaldoPaul Casey0121
2010U.S.A.Corey PavinTiger Woods3103
2010U.S.A.Corey PavinZach Johnson2102
2010U.S.A.Corey PavinStewart Cink1032.5
2010U.S.A.Corey PavinRickie Fowler0121
2010EuropeColin MontgomerieLuke Donald3103
2010EuropeColin MontgomeriePadraig Harrington2202
2010EuropeColin MontgomerieEdoardo Molinari0121
2012U.S.A.Davis Love IIISteve Stricker0400
2012U.S.A.Davis Love IIIJim Furyk1201
2012U.S.A.Davis Love IIIBrandt Snedeker1201
2012U.S.A.Davis Love IIIDustin Johnson3003
2012EuropeJose Maria OlazabalNicolas Colaserts1301
2012EuropeJose Maria OlazabalIan Poulter4004
2014U.S.A.Tom WatsonKeegan Bradley1201
2014U.S.A.Tom WatsonWebb Simpson3013.5
2014U.S.A.Tom WatsonHunter Mahan1211.5
2014EuropePaul McGinleyStephen Gallacher0200
2014EuropePaul McGinleyIan Poulter0121
2014EuropePaul McGinleyLee Westwood2202

Historically, then, here are the wild-card records for both teams:

Europe: 65-67-15 for 72.5 points, 41 picks averaging 1.71 points

U.S.A.: 50-42-31 for 60.5 points, 29 picks averaging 1.83 points


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