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Who should get a Ryder Cup wildcard?

Iain Carter | 19:28 UK time, Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Ian Poulter's decision to pull out of the final Ryder Cup qualifying event at Gleneagles to remain in America to contest the FedEx Cup play-offs is perplexing.

It sends conflicting messages.

One interpretation could be that he already feels confident of a captain's wildcard pick.

Another is that he feels he has done all he can to convince Nick Faldo that he is worthy of selection; and the other is that he rates the PGA Tour's lucrative season-ender more highly than playing in his second Ryder Cup.

The last of those theories is hard to accept.

The Englishman has been as vocal as any European player in stating his desire to take on the Americans at Valhalla next month.

It's hard to believe that he would trade the big bucks on offer Stateside for the glory of trying to help Europe to their fourth win in a row.

So does he feel that he has done enough already to earn a spot on the team?

Certainly he won plenty of kudos for the way he finished second at The Open Championship in July.

At Birkdale, he holed a 15-footer on the last which at the time might have been enough to land his first major.

Faldo will have been impressed but the captain has also stated he wants players in form and since then Poulter has been as inconsistent as he has been all year.

This hasn't stopped conspiracy theorists claiming that he must have already been given the nod that he is in the side.

It is a point of view that hasn't been discounted on the range at Gleneagles, where players are preparing for the Johnnie Walker Championship - the tournament that marks the end of the European qualifying year.

Again it is hard to believe this would be the case, though no-one can be sure what is going through Faldo's mind.

The captain will be making a flying visit to Scotland to announce his wildcard picks on Sunday evening. He won't be here to see much of the golf. Is his mind already made up?

Nick Faldo

And how much credence should we give to his American television commentary on Sunday night when he said that if Paul Casey holed a 22-footer on the last he would be in the team?

Casey duly holed out and the skipper was quickly backtracking. This is surely an indication of Faldo's idiosyncratic sense of humour rather than anything more serious, isn't it?

Questions, questions, questions. And the answers will come on Sunday.

Casey has been consistent enough all summer to warrant a pick, while Darren Clarke's Dutch Open win, allied to a stellar Ryder Cup record, surely puts him ahead of Poulter.

Since Clarke lost his wife Heather to cancer two years ago, he has been rebuilding his life and career.

The special circumstances are the sort for which the wildcard process is in place.

Poulter, meanwhile, has had a full season playing all the biggest tournaments in which to secure an automatic berth.

The same applies to Casey, but he has been the more consistent of the two recently. For those reasons, my picks, as it stands at the moment, would be Clarke and Casey.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

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

  • Comment number 2.

    If the last 3 places remain the same, I think Nick will go with experience picking Darren Clarke and Paul Casey. Darren gives you so many options 4ball with Westy and 4somes with Jimenez. Westy will partner Sergio in 4somes. I love the chance to pick your own pairs and see how close you get to the captain's choice.Will their be a fun pairs pick for your blog once the team is finalised. I think that would be alot of fun.Pairings, 4Ball- Westy/Darren, Karllson/Casey.Packy/McDowell,Stenson/Garcia.4somes- Garcia/Westy, Jimenez/Clarke,Hansen/Packy,Wilson/Rose. Would be interesting to see what people think, remember golf is all about opinions. Just watch out for Boo. Best of luck to both sides.

  • Comment number 3.

    I have to disagree with Wightd91 and, for once, agree with Iain Carter.
    Clarke should be nailed on for a pick now after his win in Holland. Wightd91 obviously missed Clarke's win earlier in the season in Hong Kong.
    Clarke has the perfect game for matchplay with the potential for lots of birdies mixed in with a few howlers. He has experience, which Faldo's team is short of, and he forms a formidable partnership with Westwood.
    Poulter talks a great game but has again won nothing this season and lacks the consistency to go with his high self-image. His decision to miss Gleneagles is disappointing and shows a lack of commitment to the Ryder Cup cause.
    Casey is playing himself nicely into form and has shown that he can perform on the big stage.
    So, perhaps the biggest suprise is Iain Carter writing a sensible article on golf. The terrible and embarrasing article was the twaddle he wrote last week about golf and the Olympics!

  • Comment number 4.

    Wightd91

    Calling up Clarke the biggest joke of all time?

    Perhaps you didn't watch the last Ryder Cup when Clarke did rise to the occasion. And doesn't have the game for it? He has been one of Europes top performers over the last decade and far more consistent than Poulter. Plus he is on form and would make a great partnership with McDowell.

    Clarke and Casey for me.

  • Comment number 5.

    Iain,

    I notice you haven't even given a thought to Carl Petterson. Was this just a simple mistake or do we just like o stick to home players.

    Surely his performances in the Us over the last couple of months warrants something. And to be 13th in the FedEx standings is no mean feat!!

  • Comment number 6.

    the first comment seems to ignore Clarke's two victories this year...!!!!

    everyone says a wildcard should go to someone who is "in form".....so why is no one mentioning the most in form European at the moment...

    4th, 4th and 7th in the last three events on the PGA Tour....Poulter could only dream of that level of consistency.....

    step forward Martin Laird...

  • Comment number 7.

    Petterson point is a fair one. He is a good player and shouldn't be ignored. I think it is fair to say that it would be a huge surprise if Faldo were to pick him tho.

    I think Wightd91 must have gone insane. I don't think Poulter really deserves a choice to be honest. I dont think he is any better than the likes of Martin Kaymer of Ross Fisher(hits the ball a ridiculous distance) and Iain's point about Poulter's big points scoring opportunities is a valid one.

    I do think it will be Clarke and Casey also. Clarke has a lot of pedigree when it comes to matchplay. A pretty good Ryder Cup record alongside a number of good WGC Matchplay performances, including a victory, is proof enough that he deserves a place in the team provided he arrives with good form...which he clearly will.

  • Comment number 8.

    Poulter's decision is bizarre and I believe he's put himself totally out of the equation. Irrespective of Montgomerie's poor form, we all know he is a different beast when it comes to the Ryder Cup. His record doesn't just speak for itself..it is literally phenomenal..he has NEVER lost in singles. Could you almost say he will guarantee you 3 points? If that's the case you would be mad not to take him..especially as Harrington has said he wants him in the team.

  • Comment number 9.

    It has to be Clarke and Casey really. Poulter hasn't been particularly firing of late and he's put himself before the team. He can argue that he needs to play in America to make up his 15 events for the season, this would be his last chance to do so, but he should have been thinking ahead and foreseen the situation where he would need to play at gleneagles to qualify and played an extra event earlier. He took the week off after the USPGA, if he'd played then he could have been in Gleneagles. I don't think he can expect to put Nick Faldo in this situation and be picked over guys busting their guts to get in. He's got no excuses.

    Clarke has been playing brilliantly of late, just his putting letting him down and that clicked in over the weekend and look at the results. Whoever wrote that first comment obviously hasn't been following golf much. Clarke in the end is not that far off the qualifying mark, DESPITE not playing in three of the four majors this season, which are by far the easiest way of accruing big points. That's not to mention his amazing record with Westwood or the fact that Poulter has only one cap, where he didn't exactly shine, Clarke has five... No matter how you look at it, Clarke is one of the big boys and if it wasn't for last years bad results effecting the tournaments he could play in this year he would almost certainly have made it on his own steam and he is a name that no American will fancy going up against.

    Casey has also been in cracking form in America recently and is very hard to look past. He's come from nowhere in the wild card race, wasn't even thinking of him until a month or two ago. Why? Because he's in hot form and that's exactly the sort of guy we want for the Ryder Cup.

    I really like Ian Poulter and I think it's a shame that there will be lesser players on the team, but he knew what he needed to do to qualify and failed to do it. He only had one other top ten this year outside the open, in the Abu Dhabi championship at the start of the year. That's not Ryder cup form I'm afraid.

    http://pgatourist.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 10.

    Agree with Iain Carter here.

    Would originally have chosen Poulter but his missed cut last week contrasts so vividly with Clarke's inspiational win. And the nonsense about fulfilling his 15-event obligation is just that - nonsense. He has seven events to play his 15th after the Ryder Cup (if he doesn't make the team. Job done if he does.)

    Pettersson is too inconsistent, while Casey's form recently has been excellent.

    Let's hope Martin Kaymer qualifies as well, but we can't aford another rookie as a "pick", (which Poulter almost is).

    And: Iain: Please catch up with Martin Laird; his form has been terrific, what a revelation!

  • Comment number 11.

    How many Americans are going to fear Poulter? How many americans are going to quake in their footjoys when they see clarke coming with the cigar ready to smoke them all....

    Dissapointing decision by Poulter to stay in American this weekend...

    Casey is a solid match player and has plenty of great golf shots left in him after a quiet season ...

    Go europe !!

  • Comment number 12.

    Darren clarke is the man in form and Monty is the Ryder Cup expert, with their records and experience how can you leave them at home!

    Casey and Poulter have made it clear where their priorities lie, that's obvious if you look at the tournaments they have played or should I say missed.

    With big Daz and Monty on the team sheet you are almost certainly guaranteed big pionts - the Ryder cup stats will tell you that.

  • Comment number 13.

    Poulter can still qualify automatically through world ranking points with a top three finish in the US.

  • Comment number 14.

    On form, there's no way that Monty should even be considered. However, the RC means more to Colin than anybody else (the guy seems to live for it!) and he has a very fragile ego.

    He would be so upset to miss out (maybe more than just upset) and there is, therefore, reason to make a special case and include him on "compassionate grounds" ... rather like with Darren Clarke last time.

  • Comment number 15.

    All sporting careers come to an end and in this case Monty's Ryder Cup career is effectively over (unless he does a Kenny Perry in 2010). It's time for a new "Monty". I believe that to be Clarke. After him it will be Harrington........and so on.
    The fact is simple, you just can't turn form on and off and Monty's has been off all year bar the 2nd in France. As someone mentioned here Poulter has played all the big events, including Majors and if he is to beconsidered good enough for the team, then he should be qualified by right by now.
    Apart from Clarke's form (not forgetting 6th in WGC at Firestone), his partnership with Westwood is not to be underestimated.
    Someone here mentioned Clarke teaming up with McDowell........perhaps, but I see Sergio and McDowell as the next "Westwood and Clarke"........and Faldo should be looking at the future development of the team as much alongside this years event.
    I like this lineup: Westwood/Clarke; Garcia/McDowell; Harrington/ Jimenez; Karlsson/Stenson; Casey/Rose.
    Kaymer or Wilson can slot in for Rose who is not exactly on top form at the moment.

  • Comment number 16.

    So Monty spits his dummy out and he should get a wildcard to appease him.
    Super stuff Sagamix.

  • Comment number 17.

    Nobody has mentioned Nick Dougherty, a Team Faldo player. Only 3 top tens this year, but is at 13th in the RC points list.

    Not that I believe he is ready , but Faldo might !!

  • Comment number 18.

    Just imagine...

    Walking down the last, scores level, Poulter with his approach shot, and bang, he shanks it! Like he does at most major tournaments!HAs anyone seen a pro golfer shank the ball as much as Poulter at the majors?

    So for me, Let Clarke and Casey play.

  • Comment number 19.

    What about Martin Laird? 3 top ten finishes in the last 3 PGA Tour Events, cracking form and great confidence. He's at least worth consideration, surely.

  • Comment number 20.

    Wightd91 - what you on about?
    Has to be Clarke and Casey.
    The only joke in the whole equation is Nick Faldos ego. He's liable to pick himself and Seve!

  • Comment number 21.

    A couple of points.

    The US PGA Tour event this weekend finishes on Monday (it's the Labour Day holiday) so Poulter cannot win any World Ranking points before Sunday's deadline - that's why Faldo asked for an extension of the deadline.

    I don't think Martin Laird is a European Tour member, having played all his golf this season in the States, so I don't think he's eligible. Even if he was, though, he's way short of enough experience to justify a pick.

  • Comment number 22.

    Maybe Faldo has already told Poulter he's not made it...?

  • Comment number 23.

    Rosco, no, I don't see it that way ... I don't see it as appeasing Monty and preventing him spitting his dummy out (although I agree that it's no bad thing for his dummy to stay more or less where it is!).

    All I mean is that Monty being excluded from the Ryder Cup could lead to some mental health issues (the plight of Paul Gascoigne springs to mind) and so it might be as well to select him. After all, Darren Clarke was picked last time more for his own benefit than that of the team (albeit things worked out fine all round). I'm just suggesting a similar remedy for Colin this time.

    As regards the team, I can think of one obvious plus point for Monty being there. We all know about the ruined relationship between Europe's top 2 players, don't we? ... and that could scupper the team's chances, couldn't it?

    Well, Monty is enormously respected by both Garcia and Harrington (indeed Pod desperately wants to play with him) and he can help keep the lid on a potentially volatile situation ... I can see Colin operating very effectively as a kind of "go between" (behind the scenes, obviously!) and, even if he scores zero points out on the golf course, that would be a massive, possibly even decisive, contribution.

  • Comment number 24.

    sagamix,

    are you actually suggesting picking monty for a professional sports event as a remedy for a mental health issue???

    If he is on the verge of a breakdown as you suggest, then the man needs professional help, not a high pressure golf tournament.

    You are quite possibly in need of some psychiatric analysis yourself.

  • Comment number 25.

    What the normally excellent Carter omits to mention is that Poulter has to play in the States this week if he wants to retain his card there for next season - just to get his allotted number of events played.

    Clearly he'd planned his schedule earlier in the year, assumed he'd have made the side by now but then realised too late it wasn't going to happen.

    And in this day and age there's no way a player like Poulter can afford not to be a member of the US Tour. Unfortunately he's not really got a choice and I suspect has given up all hope of a wild card.

    Clarke will get one pick. the other may not be so straightforward. Daniel Chopra anyone?

  • Comment number 26.

    test

  • Comment number 27.

    Has anyone considered that Poulter has had a conversation with Faldo and was told that he was not going to be one of his wildcards if he didn't qualify.

    That would put a different complexion on it. Poulter would then be balancing the opportunities in front of him. Do I play one tournament in Europe with a slim chance of automatic qualification when I know the captain does not really want me. Or do I play in America where I can forget about Ryder Cup points and just play for the cash. (And it is lots of cash).

    Poulter would in these circumstances have realised that there was not a performance he could put in - other than a top 5 finish -that would get him in the team.

    And what if he wins in America this weekend and Clarke misses the cut?

    G_U_F

  • Comment number 28.

    ----

  • Comment number 29.

    OTT moderators

  • Comment number 30.

    can anyone confirm what tres___ wrote (comment 13) is true. If it is, Faldo's announcement is going to be pretty late on Sunday night if Poulter is in the frame!

    Have to agree with bentihno all that shanking must say something about inability to deal with pressure. IP consistently wins the 'worst shot I have ever seen from a pro' title.

  • Comment number 31.

    Poulter does not need to play in the States this weekend to keep his card. He has already played 14 events and needs 15. After the Fedex and Ryder Cup there are a number of Fall events where players lower on the order of merit play to try to keep their cards. They may not be sexy but they are Tour events. Play just one of those and he'd have his 15.

    On the other hand, at 63rd in the Fedex standings if he didn't play in the States this weekend he'd be in real danger of missing out on next week's US Tour event and the enormous sums of money being played for in the Fedex play-offs.

    It does look to me as if Poulter has given up on the Ryder Cup for the Fedex cash, unless he has already been promised a pick.

  • Comment number 32.

    Ian Poulter is a classic example of a player who thinks he is way better than he actually is. I for one am glad he has decided to play (whether he had to or not) in the States as this bozo is a journeyman pro at best. Second in the Open this year was a small highlight in what has otherwise been an appalling year for someone, who at the start of the season, crowned himself the second best player in the world. His inclusion would in no way strengthen the European team.

    Faldo will not pick Monty as he never liked the whining Scot and of course would not what to see him break his all time point scoring record. Colin 'your only here because of me' Montgomery has the same chance of getting in as Ian Poulter winning a Major. That right, none at all.

    Darren Clarke should be picked no questions asked and Casey is almost a cert to get in.

  • Comment number 33.

    Chipfromrough,

    No tres is wrong, see my post no 21. The US event finishes on Monday this weekend.

  • Comment number 34.

    G_U_F I would have thought that everyone had gone through that possibility. Dont see how it 'puts a different complexion on it'. All that would do is reiterate the suggestion that he isn't that bothered. As for making cash, he is going to be playing the game for a long time and has plenty of time to accumulate wealth!

  • Comment number 35.

    Nonsense from thestayer regarding Poulter's chances of winning a Major. Let's remember that the way he played in the Open he would have won if Harrington had faltered down the stretch. Poulter has more chance of winning a Major than Rose, Donald and Casey because he has shown that he has the guts when the pressure comes on. None of the others have yet done anything other than wilt on the Sunday of a Major when in contention.

  • Comment number 36.

    it has ta be casey and clarke. harrington now has to take over from monty as the main man on dt team.he is the best player on it and he has ta set the standard.i can understand y harry wud say he wnts him on de team, but deep down i dnt think he does. if including monty in the team, this will undermine harrys role on the team, the spotlite will be on monty then, which im sure harry does not want

  • Comment number 37.

    -

  • Comment number 38.

    The Ryder Cup is irrelevant.

  • Comment number 39.

    When the world's best player couldn't care less about an event it has an extremely damaging effect on that event's prestige.

  • Comment number 40.

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

  • Comment number 41.

    oh, and monty on a bad day should be picked ahead of Ian Poulter.
    in fact i would pick me instead of Ian Poulter.

  • Comment number 42.

    Ian Poulter is a bad advocate for European golf.
    how can someone who has never won anything have his own brand of clothes, he reminds me of anna kournikova, all the gear no idea.
    try winning a few majors like Padraig then we may listen to your comments. fancy passing up the chance to qualify to chase more money in the fed ex cup.
    that says to me he is motivated by the dollar rather than the history of the game. he is a total sell out, stay over there and do your footjoy adverts. we dont need you

  • Comment number 43.

    The fact that Poulter is even getting this much mention is baffling - he has had a poor year apart from his British open finish. There are far more deserving wild card options. Clarke, Casey, Dougherty, Kaymer, McGinley to name but a few.

    Clark and Casey have to be strong favourites but it would be a shame to see a Ryder cup without McGinley in it especially when he is coming back in to form after some major changes to his game. His team mentality is what sets the Europeans apart from the Americans. And BMACO1981 - Its nice to see Europe have pummelled the yanks so much over the last few years that they have started to pretend the Ryder cup does not exist - hurts doesent it...

  • Comment number 44.

    Poulter should follow the example set by Justin Rose.

    After his poor showing in Holland last weekend Rose has decided to stay on in Europe for another week to cement his place in the RC team. As he says, going back to America was the original plan but he came to Europe to do a job and didn't get it done. Hence he will hang around until he DOES get it done, despite the money on offer in the US. Fantastic, refreshing and he has gone way up in my estimations. Despite being a shoe- in for a pick even if he did get pipped for an auto slot at the 11th hour he changes his schedule (and risks the wrath of his wife!!) and that's the kind of attitude that inspires others

    Further, golfers in general, like footballers, could do far worse than take note of the passion and desire shown by Team GB's athletes. Those athletes can only dream about earning the sort of cash that even a journeyman golfer gets and yet they give their all.........that's real sporting prowess

  • Comment number 45.

    What is Poulter thinking!

    He talks all year about his main goal being making the team then this.
    I cant see how Faldo can know pick him given Clarke's win at the weekend. Poulter talks the talk but he has had one top eight finish all year and that is not good enough.
    Do I like him as a player yes, does he have the team spirit and the confidence to play in the Ryder cauldron, Yes.
    But his results speak for themselves and he cant have any complaints if he is not on the team.

    As for Casey, He hasnt now won since early 07. Again I am a big fan but he doesnt appear to be fulfilling his potential.
    He would however get my pick but he needs to start winning more.

    Clarke would get my last pick.
    Class is permanent and form is temporary and his record in the Ryder cup is excellent.
    He is obviously back on form and would be a great addition to the team.

    Ps. wightd91, Please remind me how many
    times Clarke has won this year and how many times has the egos of Poulter/Casey won.

  • Comment number 46.

    I cant believe the stick poulter is getting here! he is without doubt one of europes top players and the ryder cup team would sturggle without him

    The way he played in the last round of the open shows he has the mental strength but just because is is confident and trying to change the image of golf people dont like him!

    all other options, casey, rose etc etc never produce in majors, hopefully faldo has told him he is already in

    come on europe

  • Comment number 47.

    Another vote for Clarke in and Poulter out. Sorry Poults, but I don't think that a second place finish at The Open makes this season a good enough one to warrant being picked for the Ryder Cup over a player (Clarke) who's won two tournaments this year.

    As for the second wildcard, I think it's probably got to be Paul Casey. By all accounts he's coming back into some form, he's got some decent Ryder Cup experience, and he's more than used to playing in America.

  • Comment number 48.

    As far as i'm concerened the fact that Poulter cannot be bothered to try and qualify for the RC automatically excludes him from a wildcard pick. It shows a lack of respect and contempt for the competition and his team-mates.

    As for the two wildcard picks then imo there should be a split between a in-form player and an experienced player that can bring a lot to the team. In the first bracket are a number of players - Casey, Kaymer etc while the second bracket also has a number eligible characters Clarke, McGinely, Monty.

    It's not a decision I envy but lets not forget that the very name of a wilcard suggests that a "wild" pick can be made. This usually suggests a person with the most to offer the team whether it is through results or simply by helping to raise the game of the rest of team. The latter in this instance can be much more rewarding than one or two points picked up on the course.

  • Comment number 49.

    aconwa12

    So Rose never produces in majors but Poulter does?

    ??????????

    Do you know anything about golf?

    Rose finished top 12 in all majors in a single year in 07 against Poulters one decent finish in the Open!

  • Comment number 50.

    Whilst many are picking two from Casey,Clarke and Poulter, little mention has been made of Carl Petterson's chances of making the team.

    Petterson has been quietly and successfully going about his business on the PGA Tour, regularly beating the US Ryder Cup players on their home turf, where the Ryder Cup is being played after all.

    If Faldo truely wants the in-form players, Petterson has already won on the world's toughest tour this season and had 5 top 10 finishes.

    This was Luke Donald's route to success and it wouldn't surprise me to see Faldo select Clarke for his experience and Petterson ahead of either Poulter or Casey....because he is playing better and more consistantly than either.

  • Comment number 51.

    Must agree with Iain Carter's picks, and good to see most contributors backing him up. Poulter is great for golf - passionate, exciting, determined, attention-seeking - but hasn't shown consistency high enough to withstand the extreme demands of Ryder Cup matchplay. Would anyone agree he'd maybe be more at home in the US team, where everyone's used to 'looking after no.1' 24-7?

    Whereas Darren Clarke's Ryder Cup record surely shows a man who consistently performs his best in matchplay and team scenarios? eg Ryder Cup '06, and the 1-on-1 matchplay win over Tiger Woods (the 'non-Wentworth' World Matchplay). Looking forward to another great RC drama, and another win for Europe.

  • Comment number 52.

    Poulter's decision to skip Gleneagles was a strange one (obviously the mighty dollar means more to him than the RC). That said, what are Casey's plans this week? Is he making the trip to Gleneagles or is he staying Stateside for the second leg of the FedEx Cup, and like Poulter hoping for a Faldo pick?

    I'd say if he's staying in the US, surely he should be receiving the same flak Poulter is getting for missing Gleneagles.

  • Comment number 53.

    The ryder cup requires winners and aggressive golfers. In my opinion Clarke has to be there as the European team is a little inexperienced. I feel neither Casey nor Poulter have played well enough to deserve a pick. The latter's decision to play in the fedex cup baffles me as well. If I were in his position I would have travelled to Gleneagles on Sunday evening and practised as much as possible in order to play well over the 4 days. However I am not a pro and who am I to question Mr Poulter's schedule?

    For me the two have to be clarke and ross fisher. Fisher would be dominant in fourballs. He is a huge hitter, and having one the European open this year his confidence levels must be sky high.

    I will eat every hat I own if monty gets picked.

    Come on Europe!

  • Comment number 54.

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

  • Comment number 55.

    Sagamix (Post #23)......I have questioned before on these pages as to what planet you are on.....I am afraid I have to ask again!
    Clarke was picked in 2006 for HIS benefit andnot the team's???
    Monty needs a pick in case it brings on psychological problems???
    The ruined relationship between Harrington and Garcia????...and we ALL know about it????
    Zero scoring St Monty will save the day????

    Can you please add something constructive to the debate.


  • Comment number 56.

    IHTFSC, I see the people down the job centre are letting you use their computer again.

  • Comment number 57.

    Famously Jack Nicklaus defined himself by his record in the Ryder Cup.

  • Comment number 58.

    I agree that Pettersson would be a strong choice. But who else?

    It's important to realise that the Ryder Cup is about more than golf ... indeed, the recent record shows that team spirit wins the day over individual merit every single time.

    Europe, this time around, have a major problem in that area. Team USA, free of TW, will bond extremely well whereas Europe have a top 2 who simply do not get on. Harrington and Gracia are the Tony Blair and Gordon Brown of this scenario ... clearly the main men but, if not managed properly, likely to bring down the whole shooting match with their mutual animosity.

    What we need is a John Prescott, don't we? ... somebody to mediate effectively between the feuding pair and ensure that the overall enterprise is not compromised.

    So who's that going to be? Who has the stature, the girth, to do that? Certainly not Mr Faldo or Mr Olazabal, so it has to come from one of the players ... just has to be Colin Montgomerie, I'm afraid.

    Don't get me wrong, I'd like to pick somebody else too (Casey, Dougherty, Kaymer, all those great guys) but it's going to be 16/12 to America if we don't get the chemistry right in the team room.

  • Comment number 59.

    i've heard that the reason Poulter has gone back to the US is that he just realised that he wouldn't be able to pick his own trousers for the Ryder Cup and has decided not to play.

  • Comment number 60.

    BMACO1981, your comment about Jack Nicklaus appears totally at odds with your earlier comments about Tiger Woods.

    Also I am not sure what this has got to do with the thread.... Then again nothing you have posted so far does so no surprise really.

  • Comment number 61.

    It is disappointing that Poulter attracts so much attention. I don't question his talent but he needs to shut up until he starts actually winning. In my opinion his decision not to play at Gleneagles this week should rule him out of the equation. However we have the Faldo factor to consider and let's be honest he spends most of his time across the pond and may have given the nod behind the scenes.

    The same might be said for Casey too although he is more consistent than Poulter and would fit into the team better.

    I admire Rose's desire to do his best to ensure he's in the team and his fellow countrymen could learn a lot from him.

    Having said that I would not complain if Casey and Clarke get the nod although there are a number of other very good candidates.

    My own picks would be Clarke on his current form and Monty based on his experience and the fact he excels on the Ryder Cup stage.

    Remember form doesn't always mean a great deal. Westwood performed brilliantly when his form was being questioned and there are many other examples.

  • Comment number 62.

    Hi IHTFSC is it possible that you have stumbled across this blog by accident?

  • Comment number 63.

    I was being sarcastic about Nicklaus you goon, shows what you know about golf.

  • Comment number 64.

    Sagamix (#23 and #58)..........can you once and for all please back up your insistence that there is animosity between Harrington and Garcia, which you claim, if not managed properly will ruin the whole team spirit.
    Can you send us some quotes from either player to substantiate this feud?? Links?

    What? You can't?.............I didnt think so.

  • Comment number 65.

    Chipfromrough, I think you meant to direct that comment to BMACO1981.

  • Comment number 66.

    no I meant you...

  • Comment number 67.

    Fair enough. I didn't stumble across this blog by accident. For the record, Poulter should not be picked, if he thinks he would rather compete for $'s versus RC points.

    Clarke's form is good and he is a fabulous match-player. I am sure that Casey will and should get a pick although I would love to see McGinley in the team however unlikely.

    You don't seem to have bothered to tell us who you would pick so far so enlighten me....

  • Comment number 68.

    Clarke and Casey, would love to see Monty but since he seems to have lost the ability to hit a ball straight he can't expect to go.

  • Comment number 69.

    Good article Iain but looks like Poulter has already been told he has been picked.

    If he has - it is shameful and Faldo has greatly damaged team morale before the first shot is played.

    Has anybody in the press got the courage to ask Faldo if this is the case before Sunday night?

    If Poulter is picked - Faldo has lost it - Clarke and Casey are the obvious ones for me but there are others already highlighted above.

  • Comment number 70.

    Poulter shouldn't be picked based on one good performance in the British Open. It'd be a crime if he was picked ahead of Clarke.

  • Comment number 71.

    I hope that you are wrong Freddie. Surely Faldo wouldn't be that clumsy.

  • Comment number 72.

    I hope I am wrong too - but when has Faldo ever been a leader of men?

    A great Champion he is - but a complex totally self focused guy - bet he did not think that Poulter would make it so obvious - cant see him going back on his word now though - so win win scenario for Poulter - totally consistent with his rather arrogant style.

    Team morale could suffer if this is a sign of things to come under Faldo.

  • Comment number 73.

    True, but we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that we have a really strong squad, whoever the wild cards are. It will be a hard fought contest but we (Europeans) are in the driving seat, and should win.

  • Comment number 74.

    I suffer from the same issue as Poults - I know his record in Gleneagles isnt great - I have shot a few high rounds there myself usually as the result of a major shank attack

    No place for shankers on the ryder cup as the shanks. Clarke to kick some more USA butt.

  • Comment number 75.

    Gleneagles record for poults
    2003 - 83/76
    2002 - 71/77
    1999 - 75/83
    6 rounds average is 77.5 = 5 handicapper

  • Comment number 76.

    it would be a farce to see poulter get it alright.......when you think about it he really is all mouth and flashy gear ! his best big tournament performance was the british. He sometimes does ok in majors but then falls away, he never contends really. This year all he has to show for himself is that british open where he played well for 7 holes - that doesn't all of sudden make him a good golfer......throw in his shanks in the masters this year and nothing else stands out. He doesn't deserve to be picked. Interesting if faldo picks 2 english players. I always thought faldo would be a good captain but i'm not sure anymore, he was great as a player when he walled people but he has gone too far the other way now........that said it probably won't matter cos european team is stronger anyway

  • Comment number 77.

    Does anyone have a cure for shanks?

  • Comment number 78.

    I am hitting it heavy at the moment too - the divot points left at a 38 degree angle with an inclination of 6 degress downwards - My left arm is bent out of shape too

  • Comment number 79.

    In fairness to Poulter he did well not to disintegrate in the Masters when he started shanking the ball. Christ, i think I'd have gone to pieces.

  • Comment number 80.

    Think Faldo will go with Clarke and Casey now that Poulter has decided to stay in the states. Shame Faldo hasn't got three picks as Poulter would make an excellent partner for Rose - if he doesn't balls-up his qualification - as they combined pretty well in the World Cup last year.

    European side seems to be shaping up quite nicely and will be pretty strong whatever the final twelve.

    As for Monty, I know the saying is 'form is temporary but class is permanent' but I think he is just too far away in terms of form to be considered.

  • Comment number 81.

    I think you are correct Paul_L
    Clarke and Casey will be the most likley picks
    Monty is class and I think in the rytder cup he would rise to the situation he would not let the team down.

    If Monty wins in Gleneagles it would be very hard not to pick him.

  • Comment number 82.

    I think Clarke should definitely be in the team. He's done more than enough to warrant a wildcard pick. The other pick is far from clear cut. I would not want to see Poulter in the team again. I was appalled at his four letter expletive clearly heard on tv during the Scottish open. He went unpunished when really he should have hammered. What message does this send to youngsters? I'm sure he would become a better player if he concentrated more on his golf and less on dressing the way he does. Frankly I think he's a loud embarassment and he really needs to grow up. There is no better wake up call than being left at home while the team goes off to hopefully win again.

  • Comment number 83.

    re teh comments about Poulter being able to qualify through World ranking points...the Monday finish of thsi week's US event has no impact.....the World points list only includes points gained as follows..

    ) The Ryder Cup World Points List is comprised of World Ranking Points won by a European Tour Member from each tournament in which he participates between September 6, 2007 and August 25, 2008 and thereafter in the 2008 Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles

    thus the US event this week will not help anyone....and theh Glenaegles event won't have neough ranking points to make a difference to teh top 5 on that list just now..Harrington,Westwood Garcia, Stenson and Karlsson

    Jiminez and McDowell are then safe from the money list...

    it's now all down to money at Gleneagles affecting about 6 players....Rose Hansen and wilson..all in at presnt...Kaymer Fisher and Dougherty all needing big performances...and probably Wilson to miss the cut!!!

  • Comment number 84.

    no way monty as no experience can ever excuse the awful performances he has had over the last year.

    darren Clarke is my first choice as he is playing well and knows how to get the job done in the ryder cup.

    I have a sneaky suspicion that nick dougherty is in the mind of faldo as dougherty is one of the players faldo developed and could therefore be given the chance for that reason. also he is playing quite well at the moment.

    I would pick paul casey or ian poulter as they are both players who deserve the chance to play in valhalla

  • Comment number 85.

    hi Rosco (#64)

    No, I can't supply further material about the Padraig/Sergio feud ... perhaps (and I think this is what you might be hinting at?) it's all complete nonsense. I do hope so because Europe are unlikely to retain the trophy if we have hostility and constant squabbling amongst team members!

    As regards Montgomerie ... if you won't pick him on the grounds of compassion, and you won't pick him as a mediator between Garcia and Harrington, then okay he's history because you certainly can't pick him on form. Pettersson and Casey then, I suppose.

    Although there is another point that has just now occurred to me as to why Monty could still be considered. Given his current lack of prowess at golf, if he is included in the team it will transform Europe from favourites to underdogs ... a very good thing since the modern history of the RC pretty much proves that the underdogs have a big advantage ... counter intuitive, I know, but maybe not so silly.

  • Comment number 86.

    We need to look at the whole team here. Would you prefer Poulter or Soren Hansen, for example? Poulter has a huge chance of making the team and would not even have to play particularly well, just have a solid enough performance and make sure he is above the guys in 9th/10th. Just as an example, Hansen's major records this year are MC, 53, 64, MC. Poulter's is 25, WD, 2, 31. Significantly better.

    If Poulter were to qualify automatically, not only would it make Faldo's selection job easier but it would make the team better. He's really letting the European team down and either way I dont think he deserves a pick.

    There no doubt in my mind its gotta be Clarke and Casey. All you people pushing Monty, get over it. He's playing rubbish, he hates playing in America and would get the crowd on his back moreso than any other player. There's plenty of experience already in Harrington, Garcia, Westwood, even Jimenez, and the Clarke if picked.

  • Comment number 87.

    Sagamix (#85)..........it is all nonsense.........the only person suggesting it is you!
    Monty is passed it.........Clarke and Casey.
    Case closed.

  • Comment number 88.

    Major Shanks, thank you for the biggest laugh I have had all day, and probably all week. Seriously, if Poulter puts money ahead of the Ryder Cup he does not deserve to be considered. I bet he has enough to survive very comfortably without the Fed Ex millions, so if extra money is his priority it is not going to be good for morale.

  • Comment number 89.

    You simply cannot leave out Monty. No-one has a better record than Monty at the Ryder Cup or as much experience. It is well-known Nick Faldo isn't an good terms with Monty so I can't see him going which is a real shame. Clarke? yours

  • Comment number 90.

    I don't think Monty would pick himself on current form, which is perhaps why he's been ultra touchy for the last couple of months.

    As far as Gleneagles is concerned, Casey wouldn't gain automatic entry even if he won it, as it's not a big enough tournament. His form through most of the year, majors aside, has been poor by his standards, but it has been much stronger since The Open, so, on consistency, he must be in the frame.

    Darren Clarke is an inspirational figure and nobody can doubt he's playing well enough to warrant the nod.

    Poulter may well have been told he has to perform exceptionally well in the Deutsche Bank tournament for similar reasons to Casey, but, having missed the cut last weekend, he might just have left himself too much to do.

  • Comment number 91.

    I know that we would all love Poults in the team for his charisma, but everyone seems to bypass poor Nick Dougherty, who has had such a hard year with the loss of his mother. He has had two top fives in as many weeks, and is looking at another at Gleneagles for the Johnny Walker this week, I'm backing Nick and Clarkey!

  • Comment number 92.

    Poulter shouldn't be let near the Ryder Cup...how can 7 holes of decent golf this year justify his selection to the team. Faldo is showing weakness as a captain if he has already told casey and poulter that he is picking them...it shows a lack of adaptability which could be costly in the tournament

    Major-shanks...you should try playing left handed if you left arm is so bent out of shape...simple solution...sounds like you could do no worse anyway !

    anyone who suggests poulter should be picked is as misguided as those who proclaim the fraud that was jack nicklaus as the best golfer of all time.....both are equally ludicrous suggestions...

  • Comment number 93.

    Hey Nick - I am left handed :)
    I agree with your rating though saying Nicklaus was over rated only if you agree he was 10 times beter than woods - I think 4 times better is fairer

  • Comment number 94.

    Hey major-shanker, sorry to hear you are left handed. Maybe you should try a different sport

    As for jack nicklaus - Woods has surpassed all of Jack's achievements at a comparable level. If you were to start comparing the standard of golf then Jack pales into insignificance. Nicklaus playing average golf and relied on others to choke to win majors.....Woods wins majors with peerless golf played to a standard never witnessed before and unlikely to be in the future either. Perhaps the US open this year was his worst winning major display but what he did on the back 9 on Friday and Saturday was truly extraordinary even for Woods who produces the extraordinary more than anyone ever has.

    If you were to truly compare Woods standard V Jack's then Jack would only ever end up being capable of carrying Tiger's bag around the course

  • Comment number 95.

    Clarke should definitely be picked and so should Casey because Casey is a better golfer than Poulter FACT!!

    Unfortunately Monty is not playing well enough. Otherwise he would get a pick.

  • Comment number 96.

    Anyone who says Nicklaus is only capable of carrying Tiger's bag is a Clown - with a big "C"
    As for me trying a different game - there has never been a better game than golf for triers so I will continue in that mode.

  • Comment number 97.

    I am going off to check the green in my back garden with my Stimpmeter... back in a sec - Phew still running at 13 - I should be ready for the masters next year at this rate.

    I need to lose 24 off my handicap though first.

  • Comment number 98.

    POD says clarke and maybe even Monty

    I think the number 1 currently playing golfer in the world is correct

    http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,12176_4060517,00.html

  • Comment number 99.

    Sorry, don't follow ... why should Phil Mickelson have a say in Europe's team selection?

  • Comment number 100.

    "Anyone who says Nicklaus is only capable of carrying Tiger's bag is a Clown"

    After his hip operations, he's maybe capable of carrying the bag, but with Tiger's knee out of action, he wouldn't need to carry it very far.

 

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