Golf

Willett has been the centre of attention at Hazeltine after the distasteful article written by his brother.

Danny Willett left out of opening foursomes by captain Clarke

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European captain Darren Clarke has left out the Masters Champion Danny Willett for the opening foursomes on Friday.

It was widely thought that Willett would be paired with stalwart Lee Westwood after featuring together in multiple practice rounds, but Clarke has instead selected fellow rookie Thomas Pieters to play with Westwood in the final pairing of the round. 

Clarke's decision could well be down to the intense heckling Willett received in the final practice round on Thursday off the back of the controversial article his brother Pete Willett wrote in which he criticised and flat out lambasted both the American crowds and players. 

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Willet's brother described American's as 'brainless' and 'pudgy, basement-dwelling, irritants, stuffed on cookie dough' amongst other explicit terms.

A huge amount of backlash was heard from the media and the European team whilst the Americans have largely played it down, likely with the knowledge that the crowd will give Willett an enormous amount of stick. 

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Danny apologised for his brother's comments "I'd just like to apologise obviously to everyone involved for what's been said," he said.

"It's obviously not the thoughts of myself and of the team and of captain Darren (Clarke).

"I spoke to him (Pete) on the phone after I was made aware of what was said and what has been going on.

"And I said to Pete that I was obviously disappointed in what was said and what was written about the American fans that obviously took me under their wing fantastically back in April (at the Masters)."

2016 Ryder Cup - Previews

Despite this, it seems as though Clarke is taking his man out of the firing line for the start of the day's play. All six of Europe's veterans are playing in the morning session though and there are some brilliant matches to be played out. 

However, Clarke has denied that he changed his pairings due to the controversy surrounding Willett.

 "I haven't had one group of pairings firmly fixed in my mind. There's always been a few different plans and different options...Danny's playing fine, I have no worries about Danny whatsoever, mentally or otherwise. His golf game's good and he's ready to go play.

"Obviously the incident that has happened has created a bit of a furor, but Danny himself is the Masters champion. He's a great golfer, and he's ready to play and do what he needs to do for Europe."

2016 Ryder Cup - Previews

The leadoff match between Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose from Europe and the American duo of Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed is one to keep a close eye on especially after Reed's passionate performance last time out at Gleneagles.

Another star-laden match goes out second with Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler, two huge home favourites, taking on the in-form Rory Mcilroy and rookie Andy Sullivan.

USPGA champion Jimmy Walker and two-time major winner Zach Johnson take on Sergio Garcia and another double major champion, Martin Kaymer, in the third game out. 

The last match of the foursomes on day one sees world number two Dustin Johnson and fan favourite Matt Kuchar taking on Westwood and Pieters. 

Was the right decision made regarding Danny Willett? Have YOUR say in the comment section below!

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Topics:
Ian Poulter
Justin Rose
Rory McIlroy
US Open Golf
Tiger Woods
Ryder Cup
Golf

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