Ryder Cup spot another chapter in Colsaerts fairytale
(Reuters) - Ranked outside the top 1,000 when the Ryder Cup was last contested in the U.S. in 2008, Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts never gave up and was rewarded on Monday with a captain's pick for the biennial team event.
The 29-year-old will become the first Belgian to play for Europe at the Medinah Country Club in Illinois from September 28-30.
"I'm living proof that if you want something badly it's only a matter of time if you put the work in and have the passion. It's a bit of a fairy story," said Colsaerts as he sat with team captain Jose Maria Olazabal at a news conference at Gleneagles, Scotland.
"This has been something I've wanted since I was a little kid," added the Belgian after being chosen as one of two wildcard picks along with experienced Englishman Ian Poulter.
Colsaerts turned professional in 2000 but had to wait 11 years for the first of his two European Tour victories.
He dropped as low as 1,305 in the world rankings in 2009 but his fortunes then started to change.
"I never lost faith. I had the passion and self-belief that one day it was going to turn around," said Colsaerts whose great grandfather represented Belgium in basketball and water polo at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics.
The golfer has turned into a fierce competitor, known for his long hitting and good match play record, and is now up to 35th in the world.
For all his eight top-10 finishes this season including a second tour win at the World Match Play Championship in Spain, Colsaerts said he would know his place when he lined up alongside seasoned campaigners such as Poulter, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald.
"I'm going to be quite humble and just sit down and listen to what is said," he explained.
"It's been a long summer. Every time I was in a position to seal the deal it was at the back of my mind. I've gone through the nerves of trying to make the team to now getting there but it's a good problem to have."
While Colsaerts's form has been excellent since the last Ryder Cup two years ago, 2010 U.S. PGA Championship winner and former world number one Martin Kaymer has slipped to 27th in the rankings.
Automatic Ryder Cup selection Kaymer chose to miss last week's Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles but Olazabal said he had been in contact with the 27-year-old German and was confident he would come good next month.
"We had a little chat yesterday. He's been working really hard and he's happy with the results that he's seeing on the driving range," said Olazabal.
Kaymer is scheduled to play in the September 6-9 Dutch Open and at the Italian Open, the final event on the European Tour before the three-day Ryder Cup.
"Don't be mistaken, he wants to be part of our team. I don't think I'm going to have any issues with Martin," added Olazabal.
European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso congratulated the captain on his team selections, saying the twice major winner and his 12 players would have "a unique opportunity to bring a smile to millions of Europeans".
"The team you have picked today for the defense of the trophy represents the true diversity of nationalities, languages and cultures from many different parts of Europe," he said in a statement.
"They will all come together under your leadership to represent the European flag."
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)
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