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Introducing the 2012 European Ryder Cup Team

Yahoo Contributor Network

The Europeans won the Ryder Cup back from the U.S. at the Celtic Manor Resort in Wales two years ago.

This is the squad that captain Jose Maria Olazabel will bring to Medinah Country Club the last week in September to try to retain one of golf's most cherished prizes.

Jose Maria Olazabel, Spain, captain - Olazabel, the great Spanish golfer will lead the European team this year. Olazabel is a veteran of seven Ryder Cup teams.

Rory McIlroy (world ranking #1), Northern Ireland - McIlroy is on top of the golf world. He won his second major title at the PGA Championship last month and is ranked #1 in the world. McIlroy added some spice to this year's event when he jokingly said he'd like to be matched up against Tiger Woods in singles and "kick his (butt)."

Luke Donald (3), England - Donald will be making his fourth appearance in the Ryder Cup. Donald is still looking for a major championship, but he has five PGA Tour wins and six more in Europe. Last year, Donald pulled off the feat of leading both the U.S. and European money lists. Donald has been very good in 11 Ryder Cup matches, with a record of 8-2-1.

Lee Westwood (4), England - With 33 matches under his belt, Westwood is the seasoned Ryder Cup veteran of the European squad this year. Westwood, 39, has played on seven previous Ryder Cup teams. Though never having won a major title, Westwood has two PGA Tour victories and 35 international wins.

Justin Rose (9), England - Rose burst on the golfing scene by finishing fourth at the British Open in 1998 at the age of 17. He had some struggles early in his professional career, but he is firmly in the world top 10 now. Rose has nine wins combined on the U.S. and European PGA tours. Rose was also on the 2008 Ryder Cup team.

Graeme McDowell (17), Northern Ireland - McDowell won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, a highlight for any career. This is the third straight European team for McDowell.

Sergio Garcia (18), Spain - Another former teen phenom, Garcia will also be playing in his third straight Ryder Cup. Garcia won the Wyndham Championship last month. He has won 22 times around the globe.

Peter Hanson (23), Sweden - Hanson has five career wins on the European Tour, including a win at the KLM Open that just finished Sunday, September 9. He finished third at the Masters this year and seventh at the PGA Championship last month. This is Hanson's second Ryder Cup team.

Ian Poulter (25), England (captain's pick) - Poulter's experience in three former Ryder Cups might have been a factor in his selection by Olazabel. Poulter is 5-2-0 in seven Ryder Cup matches.

Paul Lawrie, (29), Scotland - Lawrie won the Johnny Walker Championships on August 26 for his second win of the year. This is his second Ryder Cup team but his first since 1999. Lawrie claimed the 1999 British Open for his only major title.

Francesco Molinari (30), Italy - Molinari was also a member of the 2010 Ryder Cup team. He has won twice on the European Tour, including once this year.

Martin Kaymer (32), Germany - Kaymer, a former world #1 and the winner of the 2010 PGA Championship has had a terrible year and barely held on to his Ryder Cup spot. Captain Jose Maria Olazabel is hoping the team format can help Kaymer rediscover his winning form.

Nicolas Colsaerts (35), Belgium (captain's pick) - Colsaerts is the lone rookie on the European team this year. A long hitter, he brings power to Olazabel's squad. Colsaerts has won once this year -- at the Volvo World Match Play Championships, a win that certainly helped him gain a spot as a captain's pick.

Brad Boeker has been a fan of professional golf for over 30 years. He still wishes Greg Norman could have a mulligan for the 1996 Masters.

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