Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and rookie Thomas Pieters have been selected as the three wildcards for Europes Ryder Cup team. The trio join the nine automatic qualifiers on captain Darren Clarkes team which will attempt to beat Team USA for a record fourth consecutive time at Hazeltine.

The 43-year-old Westwood is Europes most experienced player in the format, having been on the winning side in seven of his nine appearances.

Kaymer meanwhile, a former world number one and twice a major champion, is a three-times winner of the biannual event.

Belgian Pieters made a late charge into Clarkes thoughts after winning the Made in Denmark title over the weekend, a performance which included a first round 62. The 24-year-old fought off competition from Russell Knox, Graeme McDowell and Luke Donald to force his way into the team for his maiden appearance.

To get it down to those three was certainly very difficult, said Clarke. I was going to look towards experience. Lee and Martin are former world number ones and bring a wealth of experience. Its not just about playing its about the team dynamic. They were two pretty obvious choices.

The last one was very difficult; Im not going to sit here and say otherwise and I had a few different people in my mind. Obviously Graeme McDowell and Luke Donald to go along with the experience of the other two, but they havent been on top of their own games.

Europe Ryder Cup team

Rory McIlroy, Danny Willett, Henrik Stenson, Chris Wood, Sergio Garcia, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Justin Rose, Andy Sullivan, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Thomas Pieters, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer

Then it came down to Russell Knox and Thomas Pieters and that has been an incredibly difficult decision; I havent slept an awful lot about it. Having to call Russell and tell him the decision was one of the toughest phone calls Ive ever had to make.

Team USA captain Davis Love III will select three wildcards on 12 September before completing his team with a fourth pick five days before the competition starts. Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Jimmy Walker, Brooks Koepka, Brandt Snedeker and Zach Johnson have been joined by The Barclays champion Patrick Reed in earning automatic qualification for the contest in Minneapolis.

The 41st Ryder Cup will take place between 30 September and 2 October.