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US desire gives Monty cause for concern

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Iain Carter | 17:16 UK time, Monday, 16 August 2010

Paul Azinger turned the tables on Europe in the Ryder Cup two years ago by generating an irrepressible team spirit - and it appears to have become an enduring quality. The Americans certainly seem to be edging it in terms of attitude in the build-up to the 2010 match.

Current United States skipper Corey Pavin now knows two thirds of his side to play at Celtic Manor in October with the eight automatic qualifiers confirmed at the end of the USPGA Championship. He also knows that the players who have made it on to their side are thrilled to be there.

Amid the bitter disappointment of losing the final major of the year, both Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson spoke of delight that they had done enough to represent their country against Europe. For them, it was the primary objective of their week in Wisconsin.

Contrast that with the impression of ambivalence from the likes of Padraig Harrington, Paul Casey and Luke Donald, who are prepared to take their chances on a captain's pick rather than fight to the end of the qualification period for a place in Europe's team.

Bubba Watson and Martin KaymerBubba Watson (left) lost out to Martin Kaymer at the USPGA but a Ryder Cup place was consolation - photo: Getty

All three are planning to play in New York the week of the final counting tournament, the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, which starts on 26 August. So is Justin Rose, although he cannot now fight his way into an automatic spot.

Martin Kaymer's win at Whistling Straits means the German qualifies for the European team from the world ranking points list, knocking Donald out of automatic contention in the process. Casey's 12th-place finish at the USPGA took him above Harrington and into the final qualifying spot on the European money list.

But Casey remains vulnerable, while Harrington and Donald require wildcard picks from European captain Colin Montgomerie if they don't play at Gleneagles - and they say they won't be there.

Monty isn't getting much help from some of his biggest players here and it is quite conceivable that he will have to choose his three wildcards from a list that includes three-time major winner Harrington, a renowned matchplay specialist in Casey, world top tenner Donald and Rose, twice a winner on the PGA Tour this year.

Harrington, who is only 1,247 Euros behind Casey, says he isn't playing at Gleneagles to help keep himself fresh for the Ryder Cup. But if he has designs on going all the way to the Tour Championship in the PGA Tour's lucrative FedEx Cup series, he will end up playing in four of the five weeks leading up to the first week of October.

The Irishman would not be adding to his tally of tournaments but would be hampering his chances of hitting the $10m jackpot in the FedEx Cup.

Monty set himself up for a fall when he stated that he expected all players on the cusp of qualification to turn up at Gleneagles. He has already been forced into a humiliating climbdown on this issue by saying that he recognises why these players are going to stay away.

The beleaguered skipper is in no position to pick a fight with anyone at the moment and on BBC Radio 5 live on the eve of the Open, he did admit that Harrington was likely to receive a captain's pick.

Indeed, it is hard to ignore someone who has achieved so much individually in recent years but he hasn't won a match in the Ryder Cup since 2004.

Harrington should still be picked as he is undoubtedly among Europe's top dozen players, but wouldn't it be better for Europe if such an eminent figure had demonstrated to the rest of the team that he was prepared to fight all the way for his place.

Sir Nick Faldo set something of a precedent last time by selecting Ian Poulter and Casey, neither of whom made the effort to play in the qualifying event. Poulter was the European star at Valhalla but the overall team spirit never reached the heights of 2002, 04 and 06 victories.

Perhaps we are witnessing a reflection of the way in which the golfing power base is swinging towards Europe. Our players are the ones more regularly challenging for the biggest individual prizes and so therefore the Ryder Cup is no longer the most likely route to golfing glory for the continent's leading lights.

Ahead of the 2006 match at the K Club, I remember Tiger Woods telling me that he had always felt that the Europeans made too much of a big deal over the Ryder Cup. There was always a discernible passion for the match but currently it is harder to detect.

Come Ryder Cup week I'm sure we won't be doubting Europe's desire, but right now it feels as though that greater enthusiasm has transferred to the States, especially when the likes of Johnson and Watson tell us that qualifying to play for their country was their top objective at the final major of the year - and Woods makes it clear he wants to be a captain's pick.


  • Comment number 1.

    Could not agree more with the sentiments re "enthusiasm" from "top prospects". Although I am a great fan of Harrington his logic about staying "fresh" do not ring true when compared to his prospect of 3 seiously competitive tournaments in the Fed-ex Cup.

  • Comment number 2.

    Bubba Watson will make an excellent Ryder Cup player, he's an agressive birdie/bogey style man who is long and has a lot of variety in his short game. He might wish to review his tactical approach though as Kaymer out-thought him on the last play-off hole. It appeared Watson had a better lie for his approach.

  • Comment number 3.

    Team spirit starts at the top and unfortunatly Colin Montgomery won't foster the right atmosphere. Neither he or Nick Faldo before him are able to say the right thing at the right time. The system that a captain is picked more as a right of passage rather than down to their skills set is deeply flawed. If things start to go wrong at the Celtic Manor how long before Monty reverts to type and gets stroppy and snappy?

  • Comment number 4.

    I agree with the facts in the article, and the interpretation of some of Europe's big name choices seem about right but I think this is a bit of damned if you do and damned if you don't for people like Harrington, Donald and Rose etc.

    For the past 15 years we've highlighted our success in the RC because as Europeans we've had so little individual success (compared to the US, and South Africa for example) in the Majors to glorify. It's spot on to say that we made such a big deal of the RC because it was the only 'major' tournament we were consistently successful in. Now the power base in golf is more European rather than solely US based you can't expect people to increase their dedication to one thing without to some extent putting other things more on the back-burner.

    No matter what anyone says about the RC, and I am a big fan of the tournament, it remains second in terms of fame, financial reward and perhaps most importantly frequency to the Majors. Specifically it remains less important to a players CV than winning The Open, The US Open or The Masters.

    10 or 20 years ago for most European golfers to win one of these three majors was an aspiration rather than a realistic annual goal, yet now I would argue there are between 15 and 20 European players who can legitimately state their annual target it to win at least one Major.

    It's a bit like the crisis with the England national footbal team currently. People seem to wonder why players seemingly struggle to motivate themselves to play for their national side when really the reason is clear. Playing for England doesn't pay you 100k+ a week, it's a less luxurious regime when you're competing in tournaments and it's a huge amount of pressure from an enourmous amount of people watching, analysing and ultimately criticising you if you don;t come up to scratch. Miss the cut in a Major and you just move on to the next one. Miss a vital put in the Ryder cup and... well, look what this did to Bernhard Langer?!

    I'm not saying the Ryder Cup doesn't matter... it's a wonderful tournament. Neither am I saying players should be excused from not caring about it, it should matter, golf is game so consistently espousing its history and tradition. But I am saying we can't really be surprised that now our European players are earning far more than they did previously, winning more Majors than ever before and filling up the top end of the rankings that suddenly beating America at soemthing doesn't seem quite as magical as it once did.

  • Comment number 5.

    I dont completely agree with the sentiments. I doubt Harrington is in it for the Fedex money, he is playing because they are a series of big tournaments with quality fields.

    This was always going to happen with only 4 picks from the World list.

    Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson will be a breath of fresh air to the US team, much the way Weekley, Kim, Mahan and Perry were 2 years ago.

    It is good that the US team is looking stronger cos 2-3 months ago, it was hard to see how this was going to be a close contest. However they have a good 4 picks as Woods, Kim, assuming he regains fitness, Zach Johnson and Cink are all solid picks.

    As will Casey, Harrington, Donald or Rose (gone off the boil the last few weeks and will struggle for a pick, though he has a fair case).

  • Comment number 6.

    I was listening to the commentary last night (as I don't have sky) but fell asleep thinking that I would be able to listen to the whole thing the following morning.

    Woke this morning and tried to find the link for the previous nights commentary but couldn't. I was trying not to find out the result so I could listen to and enjoy the drama unfold. I was not surprised to see that Kaymer won. I seems to be very calm in a way that only the germans can be.

    So Iain, please would you pull a few strings and make sure that the link is easily available so that those of us not staying up till 1am may listen to it the following day before we inevitably find out the result? Also please will you ask the PGA to make shot-tracker available for the majors and also the live feeds on their websites?
    Also please would you have a word with Monty and tell him it is not acceptable to have Gareth Edwards as the only welsh representative on the team?

    Not surprised to see Whistling Straits ending up with Johnson, Watson, and McIlroy contesting (all long hitters).

    Also Iain, will you update the golf tips video links on the website? Those ones with Padraig and Oli Wilson have been on there for ages. I havent looked in a while but I wouldnt be surprised if you could still get advice from M Campbell about the mental side of the game which proves my point.

  • Comment number 7.

    Not sure who the qualifying tournaments for Ryder Cup points work. But wouldn't this all be resolved by allowing some/more US tournaments to count towards the Ryder Cup points? Then at least our top golfers could be challenged in tough tournaments but not be threatened with exclusion from the team?

  • Comment number 8.

    I hope they don't pick Tiger for the Ryder. No it's not because of his personal problems but because, as he readily admits, his game stinks! The US has a number of players who have done very well (perhaps not winning). They should get the nod first, not just because that is fair but because they have a better chance of winning!

  • Comment number 9.

    Getting like the football players if they don't want to fight for there place we don't want them on our team. Let them chase the money.

  • Comment number 10.

    Can't see any of the Euro team feeling threatened by Tiger in his present form, especially on home turf. Bring him on.

    The best matches this year will be the Bubbas/ Dustin J type player against McIlroy/ Poulter, players that attack with instinct. We need the steady hands of Harrington in the first two days to allow the young lads to attack. What about a capt pick for Molinari, remember these two are world champs!! 4 certain points?

    I wouldn't want Monty's job of choosing at the moment between Harrington/Donald/Rose/Molinari/Rhys Davies/Quiros/ Dyson/ Ollie Wilson etc etc and what if Casey / Jimenez are out of top 9 after Gleneagles?
    There is a case for any 3 of the above, I hope they pay off as Poulter did last time.

  • Comment number 11.

    Two points worth noting.

    Monty is likely to have to pick 3 from 4 or 5 good players. This would only be a problem if there is a weak player in the 9 automatic spots, but this is not the case. The 4 or 5 players who have had great seasons are in and there is little to choose between the rest.

    The European Tour is partially responsible for this situation. They have taken one spot away from the World list and the World list counts first therefore the last 5 automatic spots go to guys down to 9th (or further) on the European List. This is a carefully calculated decision to use the Ryder Cup selection to bolster support for the European Tour. Doing the reverse would have probably lead to a stronger team, but there would have actually been an incentive to play outside Europe. Given the Tour has used the Ryder Cup for their own gain, it is a little hypercitical to critize the golfers who are now chasing Fed-Ex monies.

    The bottom line is that everyone is playing the game. The players obviously want to play, but they won't turn their back on big prize money and why should they - that's why there are 3 picks.

  • Comment number 12.

    I think that much of this debate is still caused by the current criteria for Ryder Cup selection. We have the world's current number 10 player not in an automatic place, yet the players currently ranked 38th and 39th in the world, Molinari and Jimenez, are in the team. If Casey gets passed in the next two weeks, and that looks possible, then Monty could theoretically have to use a couple of his wild cards to pick two players ranked in the top 10 in the world!!! Casey and Donald are the 4th and 5th best ranked Europeans in the world at the moment, yet both might need wild cards. Does that sound right to you?? And let's not forget that up until a few weeks ago Ross McGowan was still in the team, and he's only had two top 20 finishes all year and is quite possibly just about to slip out of the world's top 100.

    The current selection process of players is still flawed in my opinion, and until it is fixed we will be having these same debates for years to come. Justin Rose is currently 5th in the Fedex Cup standings, if he manages to win it he gets a cool £6.4 million bonus. If you were in that situation would you pull out in order to play the Czech Open or at Gleneagles in order to try and secure a Ryder Cup place?? I don't think so.

  • Comment number 13.

    I wonder how many people will actually watch the Ryder Cup, other than the usual hardcore golf fans.

    On the other hand, those few fans tend to have above-average earning power, making them of interest to advertisers. Though not, I suspect, as much interest as the advertisers actually pay for.

  • Comment number 14.

    Some of this problem could be alleviated if the PGA were our last qualifying tournament as well. Then all the top players would turn up for it! Like the American captain, Europe's captain could then have 2-3 more weeks before deciding his picks, in order to look at current form leading up to the tournament, but it wouldn't matter if he was looking at form in either the US or Europe.

  • Comment number 15.

    I think it's great that Monty will have such a strong range of candidates to choose from. I think the points process is flawed, because the world rankings are flawed. The European Tour will always look after itself first and so will bias the selection system that way.

    I think Eduardo Molinari would be a great pick, and Davies might just get it as a Welshman. But I think Monty will pick 3 Brits, as the Brits always do. I would sa Donal and Harrington are dead certs and it will be between Rose and Casey. The former has two weeks to show enough form - Casey is playing better right now but is not at the top of his game.

  • Comment number 16.

    When all's said and done golf is an individual sport and players play mainly for themselves so the decisions that they make about what tours or tournaments they should play will of course be made based on what is best for their individual careers.

  • Comment number 17.

    In respect of Rose, earlier in the year, his sole priority was recovering his world ranking to get entry into the invitational events, not chasing Ryder Cup points. After his 2 tour wins, he'd hoped that solid performances at the Open, Bridgestone & USPGA would secure his place via the World Points. This didn't come off.
    Since he'd been playing in the States, he can't qualify via the Euro Money list, hence can gain nothing by playing two events in Europe over those in the US. He can't be criticised for chasing the FedEx.
    He can only hope for a pick if Casey remains in 9th - otherwise I can't see beyond PC, LD & PH for the wildcards.

  • Comment number 18.

    Althought i'm sure there are flaws to be pointed out about the current ryder cup qualification points/events etc, it cannot be said that the players are at somewhat/alot at fault here (Casey, Rose, Harrington).

    Ewan Murray made and excellent point during the USPGA that Harrington said to him that he's desperate to play in the Ryder cup, but he's only played on 3 European Tour events this year !!!!!

    3 is a disgrace in ryder cup year, his commitments should be on the continent for which he will represent in the ryder cup, not where there is a more money available via the Fed ex cup.

    I believe that these players should be on our team, but surely there behaviour in NOT playing on the final qualifying event at Gleneagles is bordering on arrogance in assuming that they will get one of Monty's captains picks.

    part of me wishes that they should be made an example of for not playing at gleneagles, which might give a warning to other players doing this in the future, but i want them in our team as i know that despite europe's class in depth, they are still the names that i would want in my 12.

    I just hope that i'm wrong that they haven't picked the Fed Ex cup millions ahead of qualifying for the Ryder cup.

  • Comment number 19.

    Whilst we don't share the same qualifying criteria as each other there will be a mismatch. Azinger realised that and changed the way his team was made up and made sure he had great team spirit. Pavin names his picks long before Europeans and therefore has the opportunity to build the team spirit.
    Ryder Cup is not won by individuals but by a team. In order to get the best team you have to give the give the guys who play in the USA a fair chance - surely the world list is the way to go.
    You need a captain that can lead a team and motivate and manage a group of big characters - Monty and Faldo before him were awesome individuals and I am not sure that qualifies them to be team leaders.
    No point saying that he expects the guys to play at Gleneagles and then picking those that don't. Probably regrets saying it now!

  • Comment number 20.

    hopefully bubba will earn enough money to get some coaching on that golf swing...painful

  • Comment number 21.

    I cant wait till ryder cup starts.

    was just on a long phone call with my mate there and we think the usa should wrap this up not a problem.. if you look at the length of celtic manor it is a big advantage for the usa.

    if your going into the fourballs or foresomes...

    woody - stricker
    mickelson - furyk
    johnson -kuchar
    watson - mahan

    I mean this is long /medshort hitters could be a killing of the short europeans .

    I dont see why harrighton merits a pick id rather choose eduoardo molinari as a wild card if he doesnt make it. Decent season plus him and his brother are world cup champions they would be a perfect team together.

  • Comment number 22.

    I don't blame these big players at all. Unlike football, where the players are notoriously money driven, golfers at the highest level are happy with the financial rewards they receive and they reach a point where their achievements in the game are what they are chasing over the pound, euro or dollar.

    The fields at the fed-ex cup events are going to be better than the czech open or the tournament at gleneagles not to mention the fact that the centenary course at gleneagles has been plagued by poor greens for the last 2 seasons. If these guys are already in the states, with further high quality tournaments to play in over there, it doesn't really make sense to travel all the way back to europe to play 2 lesser tournaments.

    By playing in the fed-ex cup these guys have access to greater numbers of world ranking points and that may still qualify them for the ryder cup. What happens if luke donald or justin rose win both tournaments?

    I completely understand that the selection of the european team is biased towards those who support their home tour but golf is now a completely global game and the selection process should maybe take account of that.

    In any event, I think the european team looks very strong and whether its casey, harrington, rose or donald that misses out, we still have a very good chance of winning back the cup.

  • Comment number 23.

    Although not the greatest golfing fan The Belfry is just down the road from where I live and I’ve been lucky enough to attend the Ryder Cup on two occasions. It was a brilliant sporting experience. However, I am English first, British second and European third. Sorry if that offends anybody, but that’s how excited I get about supporting a 'European' team. I’m not Spanish, Irish or German. They are all ‘rival’ countries in the other sports I follow such as football so I find it hard to get enthusiastic when a Spaniard chips in for a 2 and 1 win. And, in many ways, I probably feel closer to the ‘States’ players than I do to a Dane or a Swede because they share my language and some of my culture. So I can understand why, perhaps, some players feel a bit apathetic about representing Europe. It’s a great match and I enjoy it. But whether Europe win or lose, I couldn’t really care.

  • Comment number 24.

    The Americans were hurting after the thrashing at the K-club and they picked golfers with big personalities like JB Holmes who intimdated the European players. The Europeans must fight fire-with-fire if Pavin picks loudmouths and not be intimidated.

  • Comment number 25.

    I,d pick edoardo mollinari he,s performed well all season .
    He,s just off the pace in the points list and he,s shown he can handle the big days won the scottish open and the world cup with his brother .
    i think thas as near as we,ll get to reproducing Seve and Jose Maria .
    The crowd would love em theyre real battlers .

  • Comment number 26.

    Cannot actually believe that these guys are not going to play in the final qualifying tournament at Gleneagles!! Poor poor form! Monty should stand his ground, if they don't play don't pick them! Go for someone who would kill to be there and not run off to America in the hope of picking up a few million, eg, Jiminez, Stenson, DARREN CLARK!

  • Comment number 27.

    @15- i assume you meant two Brits and an Irishman. If Monty was to pick three Brits this would suggest Harrington would not be in the team.....

  • Comment number 28.

    Who will be the captain's picks for Europe? Harrington has to be there. In the past, I haven't been the biggest fan of Poulter and I didn't like the way he was picked last time. However, he did prove myself and many others (I have no doubt) wrong with his performances and attitude during the match. He did win the WGC Matchplay and should be a pick. Will Monty pick him? I wish he would play more in Europe and fight for Dubai. Third pick? Originally I thought there would be a total outsider in Warren. After all, Monty and Warren did win the WGC team event not so long ago, in a play off against the US?

  • Comment number 29.

    Hi, Ian

    I've done a search through your article and the elephant in the room isn't mentioned. It's TAX.

    The Revenue has a ludicrous rule whereby working visitors to these shores, regardless of nationality and where they live, are required to pay tax on a proportion of their world-wide earnings, including endorsements.

    So let us say that Casey, Harrington and Rose decided to play at Gleneagles. If they actually won teh purse, it would end up costing them to attend. If they didn;t win, it would cost them buckets. Tiger Woods may have to pay £1 million or so in tax for the privilege of palying in the Ryder Cup.

    The government made a concession for a recent European football final and has announced that it is considering an exemption for athletes competing in the 2012 Olympics. They'd better confirm it quick, or we may find we don't have an Olympics worth talking about. Same should be done for the Ryder Cup - and all international sporting events. In fact, even better than that: rewrite the rules. We know who they were intended to catch and it wasn't sportspeople playing at big events in the UK.

  • Comment number 30.

    To Greybeard: When was the last time an English golfer won a major? Since that time how many Europeans? When was the last time GB won the Ryder Cup? If it wasn't a Euro team, would the Ryder Cup be as exciting? Or would it have gone the same way as the women's annual tennis match (Wightman Cup) against the US?

  • Comment number 31.

    For me Monty is playing far too many games. As a proud Scotsman I was delighted that we were given the chance to Captain the Ryder Cup Team again (my club boasts two former members as past Captains), but for the life of me I think he has gone over the top in his attempts to get the top players to attend The JW at Gleneagles this year. I have never heard him say get yourself over to the Czech Republic, Sweden or even Portugal. Perhaps that he is the paid Ambassador for the event at Gleneagles has more to do with it. I think it is just a little too much to expect. These players are all multi millionaires (the ones in question) and have had there schedules laid out months ago.

    I have one question, if Monty ends up not leading the team in Wales would the incoming Captain have to keep Monty's picks???????

    It will be an interesting two weeks, what I feel though is.

    Eduardo Molinari, you can't go without him. A winner through and through and a fantastic pairing with his brother has already won on the biggest stage.

    Paul Casey, possibly the best player on the planet Tee to green. One of the worlds best, needs to be in.

    Luke Donald, won't scare anyone. So he had a hot three weeks in Europe, he has achieved journeyman status in the sates. Should be omitted.

    Padraig Harrington. Sliding down most rankings at a rate of knots. Can't hit the wide fairways in the states never mind the tighter ones in Wales. Ryder Cup record in the last three is almost the same as mine! Omitted.

    Rhys Davies, he is a winner, best putter on tour, course record holder at the venue being played and Welsh. This trophy is always one on the greens, he should be in!!!!!

    Justin Rose, having his best season by far two time winner in the states and two big ones with pucka fields at that. The guy plays in the states, don't miss him out because the European Tour think they own the Ryder Cup. The qualifying although better than it was still gives too much place to doing well in European Tournaments. The solution for next time being World Ranking points gained in the previous twelve month period not and an average on tournaments played. Or one money list, make it where you like. JR would be great alongside IP, he needs to be in.

    So Monty, you have been told now do the right thing for a change!

  • Comment number 32.

    To Craig: I don't disagree with what you are saying. I remember how one-sided it used to be (GB & Ireland wasn't it?) so in that respect it was the only way to go. All I'm saying is that I can't get enthusiastic about supporting a European team. But I'm looking forward to the 'match' as I have in the past.

  • Comment number 33.

    Greglynn -

    Interesting points - especially agree with you about Greybeard.

    Craig - don't worry about Monty agonising over whether to pick Poulter - he's already in, as the leader on the European points list not otherwise qualified through the World list.

    The team as it stands is:

    (World list)


    ...which is a good start.

    (European list - top 5 not otherwise qualified through the World list)

    I Poulter
    Ross Fisher
    F Molinari
    M A Jimenez
    P Casey

    Casey is almost €100,000 ahead of Ross McGowan on the European list, so Ross would need a good showing in order to bump him. Edoardo Molinari is almost €200,000 euros behind, so he would need to be in the first three.

    Fwiw, my picks would be:

    E Molinari, because he will team up well with his brother - as they have already demonstrated.
    J Rose - two wins on the PGA Tour; good partnership with Ian Poulter last time out.
    Rhys Davies. This is a bit of a wild card, not least because he's behind Simon Dyson in the European standings but he performed well at the Welsh Open and the 'home crowd effect' could work for him.

    If Ross McDowell managed to bump Paul Casey, then my picks would be:

    Paul Casey
    E Molinari
    J Rose

  • Comment number 34.

    Sorry, that last McDowell shouldhave read 'McGowan'.

  • Comment number 35.

    if you rely on a captains pick at this state of proceedings you dont deserve to be included,far too many europeans think they are better than they are.
    just pick the best 12 from the money list and be done with it.

  • Comment number 36.

    just pick the best 12 from money list problem solved

  • Comment number 37.

    What happens is Westwood and Poulter aren't fit? Or anyone isn't fit for that matter? Does Monty get extra picks or does it default to the next "qualifiers"?

    For what it's worth E Molinari MUST be in the team and ahead of Harrington at that. We need to pick the form players.

  • Comment number 38.

    Let's not forget Monty, Harrington, Casey and Donald are all IMG stable mates, could that be why Monty’s not rocking the boat?

  • Comment number 39.

    If Casey plays Glenagles and has a good week he would ensure Ryder cup qualification - it would be in his own hands. Instead, he's going to play in America and hoping that a) Players below him in the money list don't overtake him... or b) he gets a captains pick anyway.
    To me, thats the attitude of someone who's obviously not all that bothered about whether he makes the Ryder cup team - if it was the be all and end all like some people make out then he'd be at Gleneagles.
    I'm not having a go at him as its entirely up to him which tournaments he plays and what his priorities are, i'm just pointing out that if i was picking a team i'd want to have 12 players who have done everything that they possibly can to be there.
    I've used Casey as an example but i'm sure there are others in a similar situation so perhaps the priorities of the top European golfers are shifting a little and the Ryder cup isn't quite as important to them these days. We'll see in a few weeks.

  • Comment number 40.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 41.

    If Monty picks the 2nd Molinari brother he'll have a foursome/fourball team that is greater than the sum of its parts.
    If he picks Harrington he'll have a player with a dismal Ryder Cup record, who isn't even on form a.t.m.
    I fear that there's a tragic inevitability approaching, but huge respect to Monty if he proves me wrong.

  • Comment number 42.

    I have to disagree with the opinion that Watson and Johnson's top priority was the Ryder Cup last week. It's easy for them to say that it was when they lost. And massively convenient that qualifying is a perk of doing well in a major. Why don't the Europeans use the USPGA as the final qualifying event as well, ensuring that all the players in contention are able to play? Realistically we are only going to pick players who have qualified for this event anyway.
    I would leave Harrington at home. Playing like a chump at the moment. Pick Molinari II

  • Comment number 43.

    I would agree wtih the general sentiment of the article and many posts--the RC used to mean not as much to the US, and more to the Europeans because, for the most part, many of the US members were very successful individuals, and the motivation wasn't as keen for them as their European counterparts who were motivated to "win something", and show they belong on the same course as their more accomplished peers. As noted, the roles have reversed somewhat. To me it's a bit like early FA cup matches--when lower division teams play the premier sides, they have a little extra motivation to show they "belong".

    On a tangential note, I have very much enjoyed this year, as many new names are in contention, and it's enjoyable that it is no longer a fore-gone conclusion that a list of 2-5 names will end top of the field every week--especially in the majors. Nothing against Tiger, Phil, etc., but it is good to see some young men pick up the challenge. And I further enjoy that it is a list of worldwde names (US, NI, SA and Ger hold the 4 majors currently)--as an American I probably favor my own to an extent, but growing up some of my favorites were Norman and Faldo (along with Nicklaus, Watson, etc.). It's good to see a good group of golfers coming on the scene from all points of the globe.

  • Comment number 44.

    In response to 'playunextyear' just a couple of things. Firstly, to say that Harrington is not in form at the moment is just incorrect. While he hasn't played well in the majors this year he has finished 2nd (Irish Open) and 9th (World Champsionship event in Firestone)in the his last three tournaments and has had 12 top 10's in the last 12 months!

    Also, Harrington hasn't made a meal out of this but he has made a year long commitment to do an event for the Special Olympics in the USA in the week of the Gleneagles event as his role as World Wide Ambassador for the Special Olympics. Locally in Ireland he has said that he doesn't want to leave these people down as it has been organised for a long time and doesn't want to dissappoint alot of people. I know some people might be a little cynical of this as a reason for missing the last counting event for the Ryder Cup but Harrington is a very genuine guy and this would definately be a factor in his decision. As I said he hasn't made a big deal out of it as he likely doesn't want to but I think it is only fair that this is highlighted to people who are having a go at him at the moment.

  • Comment number 45.

    Ambivalence from Harrington, Casey, and Donald? I don't think so. The top bracket of players see this biennial yawn for what it is, a glorified exhibition game.It's amazing how many people can be taken in by the Sky hype machine, the same machine that can build up a Bolton versus Stoke clash.
    Who really wants to play on a dump of a course in the October gloom?

  • Comment number 46.

    Possibly the two teams should both be chosen following the PGA Championship, or at least have the European team played following the Barclays. Let's face it, the FedEx Play-Offs have torpedoed European Ryder Cup planning and O'Grady had better start to figure out how to counter that problem.
    But your article is not about that, it's about knocking Casey, Donald, Harrington (and Poulter would undoubtedly have gone the same route). Fair enough, but then you say, . . . "greater enthusiasm has transferred to the States.. . . . . . and Woods makes it clear he wants to be a Captain's pick." Which makes Woods exactly the same as Casey, Donald, etc.
    Give me a break! If Woods was so keen on securing a Ryder Cup place he'd've played more than the paltry 9 (NINE) events he's condescended to turn up for this year, far below the minimum 15 which he'll clearly not attend this year - a flame-out at the Barclays will end his season at 10.
    Criticise the Europeans if you will, but then giving Woods a free pass for doing the exact same thing, even making it sound a virtue, is shoddy stuff.
    Fair and balanced if you please Mr.Carter.

  • Comment number 47.

    The selection system for the European side for the Ryder Cup is long past its sell-by date. It was designed in a vain attempt to persuade world class British players (of whom there are now far more) to play in second division tournaments in Europe when they could play, and improve their game/status/world rankings, by playing in first division championships in the USA. It is flawed for a second reason. Match play and stroke play are entirely different disciplines, yet the 'points system' is entirely structured around stroke play events. The journeyman pro who plays over and over again on the European tour thus has a much better chance of gaining a place than a world class British player who is based in America. The US have a built-in advantage in that Corey Pavin has four picks compared to Monty's three. How Monty would wish he had four now in the way that things have turned out. The truth is that both captains should have 12 picks. The Ryder Cup is no longer the big deal it once was. In essence it is a financial milk cow, especially for the European tour. As comment 45 succinctly, and correctly, puts it, who wants to play on a dump of a course in gloomy October. So who should Monty pick? Certainly not Harrington, who is not at his peak by any means. Also he has contributed only one point in his last TWO Ryder Cup appearances. His three majors are irrelevant at this stage. It is current form that matters. Justin Rose should definitely play. To win the Memorial and another tournament, and nearly a third in three appearances was stunning. He is the natural partner too for Ian Poulter. I would like to see Luke Donald in the team also. Is Casey fully fit? I doubt it. For the third spot, depending on how things work out at Gleneagles, there is a strong case to be made for E Molinari to play as a natural partner for his brother, F Molinari. Also a candidate is Rhys Davies who scored a 62 at Celtic Manor in the Welsh Open, and as a Welshman he would get the crowd going. I would go for Rose, Donald and E Molinari, with Rhys Davies if Molinari qualifies. But I suspect Monty will go for Harrington (old pals act), Casey and Donald with Rose missing out, a big mistake.

  • Comment number 48.

    Can anyone tell me what happens if Westwood remains injured??

    Does it go to the next player on the World points list (since this is the list through which Westwood qualifies)?

    Or Does Monty have essentially another wildcard?

    Could be an interesting sub plot

  • Comment number 49.

    GTH: You're right. Next player on the world list, which would be Luke Donald as things stand.

  • Comment number 50.


    why do you think that casey is not 100%? he finished 3rd at the open and 12th at the pga. he hasnt pulled out of a tournament this year. to say that it may be an old pals act if he picks harrington is nonsense! i agree that rose would be the ideal partner for poults but donald would fit with anyone! the qualifyimg system works fine... the only thing would be to either bring it forward to the pga or extend by another week.. end where it started, swiss

  • Comment number 51.

    I'm scratching my head at some of the comments here. I believe that the Ryder Cup has long been, and will remain, one of the jewels in the golfing world calendar. I'm old enough to remember the pre-European days and even then, when the match was often a foregone conclusion it was a must see event.
    Let me ask any doubters this? You can probably remember lots of moments from RC's down the years,but what do you remember of the much vaunted Fedex play offs?
    I think Monty should be bold and discount the 4 players who should have walked into the squad. Casey, Rose, Donald and Harrington have all chosen to make their living overseas. I have no problem with that - but the bargain should be that they take their chance on earning enough points via the world list. I disagree with the view that the points system is out of date - it's actually relatively new and serves all players well by offering the choice of how you gain selection.
    Monty asked his players to turn up for 2 tournaments this year in Europe. Thats all, just two, and he named them long ago. For the 'famous four' listed above there was every opportunity to make plans to include one or both. That they failed to do so is ultimately their business - but if I was one of them I would understand that in making that decision I was less likely to gain a captain's pick.
    So I would pick from the following:

    Dyson,Molinari who have both strived hard to make it on points and are clearly in good form.
    Davies - due to the Welsh connection and his decent record this year.
    Karlsson who appears to be gaining form post operation.
    But I'd reserve one place for either Darren Clarke or Bernhard Langer. Clarke has been showing better form and Langer is clearly in great fettle.

  • Comment number 52.

    If players dont want to pitch up for Glenagles to make sure of a place, then they're not committed to getting in the team. No question. The big four outside the automatic qualification all have a choice, and none are going to get hurt by playing Gleneagles. I don't buy that tax nonsense - none of them live here and can't be taxed on their worldwide earnings for working here - otherwise there would be no foreign nationals working in the UK and that's just not the case. Anyway they are all multimillionaires. By playing successfully in the Ryder Cup they enhance their commercial value no end through the whole of the world.

    Harrington has been out of form for ages and doesn't deserve a pick. Look at what he did last time in the RC - virtually nothing. He's not a great match play golfer. Rhys Davies would be a clever pick as would Edoardo Molinari, and you can betthey would be seriously up for it, unlike the those content to make millions not winning much in America. This is a team event, and who cares about performances in USA, as we are playing in Wales!

    Monty was right to ask for commitment to qualifying - the whole team needs to show commitment otherwise its not a strong team. All for one and one for all - remember how the Americans played it last time ?

    By the way Kaymer was awesome in the PGA. He will win many more - apart from stunning talent, he has nerves of steel - always has had.

  • Comment number 53.

    45 Yamser.

    Can't think why you say that. Having been to see the Ryder Cup, it generates a fantastic atmosphere, and the majority of players on both sides really want to play, and do well. I do take your comment about the October gloom, but we can get dodgy weather any time of the year in the UK.

    Frankly, I love the Ryder Cup, and along with the Masters and The Open, it's the only televised golf I go out of my way to watch. I reckon this yaer's match, with some new faces on both sides, and most certainly not on a 'dump of a course', will provide some great golf, great TV drama, and hopefully a Europaen win.

  • Comment number 54.

    we agree most with the person who wrote that the Molinari brothers would be perfect for the
    Ryder cup--and would be the closest thing to Seve and Ollie that we have had. You have to pick the players with HEART and COMMITMENT- and if some "big" names are not picked, it is their own fault. I do hope and trust that Monty will do the right thing. Ryder cup has always been uppermost for him, and we hope he will not fail us this time. the last cup had no real leader for Europe-we hope Monty will be one and be his best self. severiano

  • Comment number 55.

    Montgomery should pick Stephen Gallagher and Corey Pavin should leave out Tiger Woods.

    Gallagher may be ranked #73 and Tiger #1, but current form suggests that Gallagher will be a stronger performer than either Donald or Harrington. Tiger isn't playing terrible golf, but there are other Americans who are playing better than him and his ranking position is mainly due to successes in the previous season than in this one. In addition, he doesn't have a great Ryder cup record.


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