McIlroy right behind Clarke, Pieters

Rory McIlroy has publicly supported Darren Clarke's decision to include Thomas Pieters in Europe's Ryder Cup team ahead of the likes of Russell Knox and Luke Donald.

Europe's Ryder Cup captain Clarke named Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Pieters as his three Captain's Picks for the Ryder Cup which takes place at Hazeltine National Golf Club on the 30th of September.

Thereafter, McIlroy, who made the team as an automatic qualifier, explained that Westwood and Kaymer picked themselves due to the lack of experience in the team but added that the third pick could have gone to a whole host of players including Knox and Donald.

As for Pieters, McIlroy felt that the big-hitting Belgian was worthy of his spot on the team and was confident that he would deliver when it mattered.

"I think everyone was pretty confident that Martin and Lee were going to get picked," said McIlroy.

"You looked at our automatic selections and we probably needed a bit more experience in there.

"You have the four, Sergio [Garcia], Henrik [Stenson], Justin [Rose] and myself, and then you have the five rookies, although we have the Masters champion [Danny Willett] as a rookie.

"So to add a little bit of experience in there was necessary. That last pick could have gone to anyone – what Thomas did in Denmark was impressive.

"Russell Knox has played well throughout the year and Luke Donald showed a bit of form and he has that experience in the Ryder Cup – so there were a few guys to consider.

"I wouldn't have liked to have been in Darren's shoes – it was a tough decision to make. But I think Thomas will be a great addition to the team."