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European players in the Ryder Cup

Saturday - 9/22/2012, 12:03am  ET

By DOUG FERGUSON
AP Golf Writer

(AP) - A capsule look at the European players for the 39th Ryder Cup matches, to be played Sept. 28-30 at Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. Players listed in the order they made the team:

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RORY MCILROY

Age: 23.

Country: Northern Ireland.

World ranking: 1.

Ryder Cups: 1.

Ryder Cup record: 1-1-2.

Career victories: 8.

2012 victories: Honda Classic, PGA Championship, Deutsche Bank Championship, BMW Championship.

Majors: 2.

2012 Majors: Masters-T40, US Open-Cut, British Open-T60, PGA Championship-1.

Backspin: The undisputed best player in the world, McIlroy gives Europe its first No. 1 player in the Ryder Cup since Nick Faldo in 1993. He went 1-1-2 in his Ryder Cup debut at Celtic Manor. He has four wins this year, including a major. Similar to Tiger Woods for so many years, he will be looked upon to deliver a point in every match he plays, and any loss figures to give the Americans momentum. The kid has shown to be up to it.

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JUSTIN ROSE

Age: 32.

Country: England.

World ranking: 9.

Ryder Cups: 1.

Ryder Cup record: 3-1-0.

Career victories: 10.

2012 victories: Cadillac Championship.

Majors: None.

2012 Majors: Masters-T8, US Open-T21, British Open-Cut, PGA Championship-T3.

Backspin: Only his second Ryder Cup, though he helped carry the load in a losing cause at Valhalla. The only European, aside from rookie Nicolas Colsaerts, who has never experienced winning a Ryder Cup. He has had good finishes since winning the World Golf Championship at Doral in March, though he hasn't seriously contended since then. Defeated Phil Mickelson in singles at Valhalla.

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GRAEME MCDOWELL

Age: 33.

Country: Northern Ireland.

World ranking: 17.

Ryder Cups: 2.

Ryder Cup record: 4-2-2.

Career victories: 8.

2012 victories: None.

Majors: 1.

2012 Majors: Masters-T12, US Open-T2, British Open-T5, PGA Championship-T11.

Backspin: Has not won a tournament since 2012, and one of three Europeans who has not won this year. He also might be one of the stronger players, considering his record of contending in the majors this year. He has the greatest attribute of a Ryder Cup player _ he holes big putts. Delivered the winning point in Wales with a 15-foot birdie on the 16th hole to beat Hunter Mahan in the final match.

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PAUL LAWRIE

Age: 43.

Country: Scotland.

World ranking: 27.

Ryder Cups: 1.

Ryder Cup record: 3-1-1.

Career victories: 8.

2012 victories: Qatar Masters, Johnnie Walker Championship.

Majors: 1.

2012 Majors: Masters-T24, US Open-DNP, British Open-T34, PGA Championship-T48.

Backspin: It has been 13 years since his inaugural Ryder Cup at Brookline, the second-longest gap next to Christy O'Connor Jr., who went 14 years between matches. Skipped the U.S. Open to improve his chances of making the team. Won twice this year. He made his first team by winning the British Open when Jean Van de Velde had his collapse at Carnoustie. Lawrie teamed beautifully with Colin Montgomerie and lost only one match. Putting has been inconsistent this summer.

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FRANCESCO MOLINARI

Age: 29.

Country: Italy.

World ranking: 31.

Ryder Cups: 1.

Ryder Cup record: 0-2-1.

Career victories: 3.

2012 victories: Spanish Open.

Majors: None.

2012 Majors: Masters-T19, US Open-T29, British Open-T39, PGA Championship-T54.

Backspin: This year, there really will be only one Molinari as his brother failed to make the team. He earned only a half-point in the last Ryder Cup and was drilled by Tiger Woods in singles. But the Italian can be dangerous in this format because of his accuracy off the tee. He's not very long, which won't help at Medinah, but he rarely will be out of any hole.

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LUKE DONALD

Age: 34.

Country: England.

World ranking: 3.

Ryder Cups: 3.

Ryder Cup record: 8-2-1.

Career victories: 11.

2012 victories: Transitions Championship, BMW PGA Championship.

Majors: None.

2012 Majors: Masters-T32, US Open-Cut, British Open-T5, PGA Championship-T32.

Backspin: Donald can make a case as Europe's best player, and he's the only European on this side who has played on more than two teams without ever losing the cup. He lost his No. 1 ranking to McIlroy, maybe for good, but put up a good fight for a long time. He has never lost a foursomes match in six tries _ four of those with Sergio Garcia, and last time with Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood.

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LEE WESTWOOD

Age: 38.

Country: England.

World ranking: 4.

Ryder Cups: 7.

Ryder Cup record: 16-11-6.

Career victories: 38.

2012 victories: Indonesia Masters, Scandinavian Masters.

Majors: None.

2012 Majors: Masters-T3, US Open-T10, British Open-T45, PGA Championship-Cut.

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