Pieters hoping to impress in Prague
August 22, 2018
Thomas Pieters will play alongside Ryder Cup Vice-Captain and three-time Major Champion Padraig Harrington for the opening two days of this week’s D+D Real Czech Masters as the Belgian aims to impress and strengthen his case for selection in Thomas Bjørn’s European team next month.
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The 26 year old was a breakout star of The 2016 Ryder Cup despite a European defeat, racking up the best points' total for the away team thanks to four victories – three of them alongside playing partner Rory McIlroy.
Although his form has not warranted automatic selection, Pieters is hitting a purple patch at the perfect time, much like two years ago, with a tied sixth finish at the recent US PGA Championship adding to a tied sixth place at the most recent Rolex Series event in Scotland in July.
A runner-up finish at Albatross Golf Resort in 2016, followed by a win at the Made in Denmark, was enough to convince Darren Clarke to select the big-hitting Antwerp player, so Pieters will be hoping history can repeat itself over the next two weeks.
Eddie Pepperell, meanwhile, could potentially move into the automatic qualification spots for The Ryder Cup with a win in Prague, with next week's Made in Denmark marking the final week in the points' race.
Harrington's fellow Vice Captain Lee Westwood also returns to Prague for a third successive time, while his English compatriot, 2016 Masters Champion, Danny Willett plays the event for the first time since the inaugural edition in 2014.
“I've been looking forward to coming back to the Czech Masters and Prague again for a while," said Westwood, "the golf course suits me and I've played well here which has been reflected in my results, so hopefully I can do a little better than my ninth place finish last year."
“Both myself and Padraig are assistant captains for The Ryder Cup so we've been having conversations in the past few months, looking at how the teams are shaping up and discussing captain's picks. But everything changes constantly so we're always re-evaluating it."