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Page last updated at 19:26 GMT, Wednesday, 10 September 2008 20:26 UK

Faldo faces Ryder pairings poser

Nick Faldo
Previous Ryder Cup lynchpins are missing from Nick Faldo's Europe team

Graeme McDowell says the number of rookies in Europe's Ryder Cup team will make Nick Faldo's job even harder when it comes to selecting the pairings.

McDowell will be one of four European players to make their Ryder Cup debuts in Valhalla this month.

"There's not a huge amount of obvious pairings. Maybe Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson? It's tough," he said.

"We've been toying with ideas the last few days, trying to match players up. It's a difficult team to put together."

Justin Rose, Soren Hansen and Oliver Wilson will also make their first Ryder Cup appearances, and McDowell admitted that Europe captain Faldo will have some difficult judgements to make.

"Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia sounds obvious but Nick has mentioned that he's looking to guys like that to put an arm around some of the younger players," added McDowell.

McDowell will be one of four team members, along with Hansen, Karlsson and Miguel Angel Jimenez, competing in the Mercedes-Benz Championship in Cologne this week.

BBC Sport's Rob Hodgetts
Karlsson's appearance is a bonus for Faldo following a recent neck injury, while Westwood has also declared himself fully fit after a recent bout of tonsillitis.

And McDowell is hoping he and the others can show some form in Cologne to make Faldo's picks all the easier.

"What's different this year is that you have a lot of long-term partnerships that are not going to be there - Garcia and Luke Donald, Darren Clarke and Westwood, Colin Montgomerie and Padraig Harrington," he added.

"It's going to take a bit more testing to see.

"I think Padraig is the obvious choice for me but I'm sure Nick has his own ideas.

"I have to say I would be excited to play with anyone.

"I feel like I get on well with Sergio and played with him a couple of times this year. So Padraig or Sergio - though I don't think I'll be alone in those choices, no doubt about it!"

see also
European Ryder Cup rankings
26 Aug 08 |  Golf

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