Woods delighted with Ryder Cup wild card

World No 1 predicts a return to form as rookie Rickie Fowler is also picked
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There was one big surprise when Corey Pavin named the US team's four wild-card picks for next month's Ryder Cup, but it didn't involve Tiger Woods being dropped. The world No 1 was included – as was Rickie Fowler, a 21-year-old who has yet to win a tournament on the PGA Tour.

The selection of Woods had been widely expected, the world No 1 having improved his form in recent weeks after struggling for much of this season.

"It's great to be a part of this team," 14-times major winner Woods said after Pavin announced his four picks on the seventh floor of the New York Stock Exchange. "I am honoured to be selected. A couple of months ago I was trying to make the team on points, but I didn't. The last two events I played, I played much better and here we are. I think my game is not that far away."

Woods, winless this season after 11 starts on the PGA Tour, will be making his sixth appearance in the biennial competition, while Zach Johnson and Stewart Cink were also picked. The choice of 21-year-old Tour rookie Fowler came as a surprise. "He's deserving," Pavin said of the richly talented prospect who has been a PGA Tour runner-up twice this year. "It just came down to feelings. I have a gut feeling about Rickie. That's the way I went."

Fowler was delighted. "It was hard to sleep last night but this is awesome to be selected," he said. "I have to thank Corey for giving me the opportunity to go over there, being a young player. It is a pretty special opportunity."