Captain Nick Faldo facing some tough calls for the European Ryder Cup partnerships

European captain Nick Faldo has a tough task on his hands to pick his Ryder Cup pairings - according to two of the players on his team.  

After overlooking Colin Montgomerie and Darren Clarke for wild cards and with Luke Donald absent through injury, Faldo has lost the obvious partners for Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia respectively.  

Westwood and Garcia have also teamed up with great success in the past, but the feeling is that two of Europe's most experienced players may be split up in order to partner younger members of the side.  

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garcia and westwood

Dream team: Weswood (top) and Garcia have linked up well in the past

All that leaves Faldo with something of a selection headache ahead of the contest at Valhalla next week, with Graeme McDowell admitting he will not be the only one keen to partner Harrington after his back-to-back major triumphs this year.  

'We've been toying with ideas the last few days, trying to match the players together,' said McDowell, one of four team members, along with Robert Karlsson, Soren Hansen and Miguel Angel Jimenez, competing in the Mercedes-Benz Championship in Cologne.  

'There's not a huge amount of obvious pairings that I can see. Maybe Henrik Stenson and Karlsson perhaps? Westwood and Garcia is obvious but he's mentioned that he's looking to guys like that to put an arm around some of the younger players.  

'After that it becomes quite difficult. It's a tough team to put together. Nick has a tough job on his hands and I just hope we play well come Thursday next week to make his job a little easier.'  

Faldo has vowed all along to listen to what his players want in terms of pairings, and McDowell was quick to make his case for partnering Harrington, winner of both the Open Championship and USPGA in 2008, or world number five Garcia.  

padraig harrington

In demand: Most players would fancy pairing up with the in-form Harrington against America

'I think with another 10 players on the team I would love to play with Padraig, he's pretty much the best player in the world at the minute,' added the 29-year-old Ulsterman.

'I think Padraig is the obvious choice for me but I'm sure Nick has his own ideas. I have to say I would be excited to play with anyone. I feel like I get on well with Sergio and played with him a couple of times this year. So Padraig or Sergio, I don't think I'll be alone in those choices, no doubt about it!'  

Robert Karlsson partnered Paul Casey to two halved matches in the fourballs at the K Club two years ago, but conceded his other options were limited.  

'I played with Paul Casey in Ireland and that was a partnership I was very happy with but apart from that I don't really have any experience of playing with anyone else, not even Henrik (Stenson),'.   We played a couple of practice rounds at the K Club and that's about it.  

'What's different this year is that you have a lot of long-term partnerships that are not going to be there, Sergio and Luke, Darren and Lee, Colin and Padraig. It's going to take a bit more testing to see.'  

One piece of good news for Faldo is that Karlsson and Westwood have both played down injury scares on the eve of the event.  

Westwood eventually received an invite to this week's event but turned it down in order to complete his recovery from tonsillitis, while Karlsson has made light of reports he was suffering from a neck injury.  

'It was nothing, when you play a lot you get small things that come and go so I decided to have an extra week off," the 6ft 5in Swede said.  

'I never even considered not playing. I could have played Switzerland last week if I had to. I just rested and enjoyed time off with my family.'

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