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Garcia all smiles again after Wyndham victory

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Iain Carter | 21:37 UK time, Monday, 20 August 2012

The strop is over and one of the most infectiously influential smiles in golf is back.

Sergio Garcia's victory at the Wyndham Championship was a much needed boost for the player and, according to skipper Jose Maria Olazabal, it should significantly benefit Europe's Ryder Cup defence.

Garcia was a picture of abject misery when he missed the cut for the second major running at the recent US PGA Championship to slip out of the automatic qualifying places for Medinah next month.

Olazabal was moved to seek out his Spanish compatriot and administer a pep talk that appears to have done the trick.

Garcia secured an automatic place in Europe's Ryder Cup team with victory at Wyndham

"We had a little chat at the PGA," Olazabal revealed to BBC Sport. "Hopefully that turned things around a little bit.

"He was struggling on the golf course mainly because of his attitude, not because of his game. To be able to turn things around in a couple of days and put on the show that he did this week says volumes about him.

"I'm just relieved and very, very pleased."

The 32-year-old Spaniard had fallen out of the top 10 automatic qualifiers when Ian Poulter grabbed a share of third place at the US PGA at Kiawah Island.

"Ian played so well at the PGA and overtook him and that also helped, because he knew he was against the ropes," Olazabal added. "He needed to deliver and that shows a lot of character.

"Everyone could see what was going on on the golf course. It was more his attitude. He was very hard on himself, he was down. As soon as he missed a shot it looked like the skies were falling in on him.

"He was not having any fun. That was the main problem, not so much his swing or the way he was striking the ball."

Olazabal watched from afar as Garcia embarked on his last counting event for the Ryder Cup at the Wyndham Championship.

The rain-interrupted tournament finished a day late with Garcia 18 under par and two strokes clear of runner-up Tim Clark.

"I watched him on TV," Olazabal said. "His attitude changed from the PGA.

"He wasn't complaining so much on the golf course and I think that helped a lot."

Europe's skipper is reluctant to take too much credit, but it is clear his words at Kiawah struck a chord with a player who can now look forward to his sixth Ryder Cup.

"I don't think I sorted him out, but obviously I made a couple of points regarding what I wanted to see on the golf course from him," he said. "But I think it was more his decision in the sense that he was off the team for the first time in the whole year and he knew that he had to deliver.

"He knew he had to do something special this week to get back his chances of making the team and at the same time to convince us that he is up for the job."

There can be little doubt of that after his first PGA Tour victory for four years. It is a timely return to form and beneficial effects of the appealing Garcia grin will be felt throughout the European team room at Medinah.

Poulter has been pushed out of the automatic spots but, with his impressive Ryder Cup record and high PGA finish, he has surely already done enough to win a captain's pick.

All the attention at the final qualifying event, this week's Johnnie Walker Championship, will centre on Nicolas Colsaerts.

The big-hitting Belgian needs a win or to finish tied second with no more than two players to knock the struggling Martin Kaymer from the last qualifying berth.

Garcia's victory ends the hopes of an automatic spot of PGA runner-up David Lynn and Rafael Cabrera Bello, of Spain.

Colsaerts, who won the Volvo World Matchplay this year, should be regarded as the favourite to gain a captain's wildcard along with Poulter if he doesn't achieve the requisite high finish at Gleneagles. The 29-year-old from Brussels would be the only rookie in Olazabal's team.

It would be quite a surprise if this is not the way they line up in Chicago next month: Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell, Paul Lawrie, Francesco Molinari, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Garcia, Peter Hanson, Kaymer, Poulter and Colsaerts.

Westwood, by the way, will be hoping to reap the benefits from the input of his new short game coach Tony Johnstone, the charismatic former Tour player from Zimbabwe, who has replaced the sacked Pete Cowen.

One other golfing topic worthy of comment is Augusta National's decision to at last admit female members in former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and businesswoman Darla Moore.

Make no mistake the club that stages the Masters remains as exclusive as ever but this move undoubtedly shifts an uncomfortable spotlight on two all-male golfing establishments closer to home.

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club and the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, whose Muirfield course stages next year's Open, will now have to fend off the inevitable questions about their men only policies from a seemingly more isolated position.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    First comment!

  • Comment number 2.

    Where's my first comment?

  • Comment number 3.

    Going for a top three :)

  • Comment number 4.

    No Harrington for you Iain then in Ryder Cup team? No idea what way Olazabal will go with his picks but I'd assume Poulter a cert but despite his strong finish in the Wyndham I'm not convinced Colsearts will get second pick. That said, credit to the lad for playing Gleneagles this week to force his way in automatically.

  • Comment number 5.

    That sounds like a strong European Ryder Cup team.

    But probably not strong enough: I'll be surprised if the US don't win this one quite easily.

  • Comment number 6.

    Garcia will probably help us win the Ryder Cup, he'll have his week in the sun. Then next year people will carry on betting on him for the majors and he'll continue letting everyone down by missing simple putts.

    That's life.

  • Comment number 7.

    I'm really glad Sergio's made it. I think he needs a ryder cup and the special spirit of the competition may well help him to fall in love with the game again. He's a fantastic ball striker and the team/matchplay format will maybe take the pressure off his putting a little. The European team suddenly look quite strong. A lot depends on whether Westy and Donald can up the ante a little and come out of their wee slumps. If they can, we'll be hard to beat and in Olly, I believe we have the perfect European captain for this away match. He's composed and oozes respect. C'mon lads!

  • Comment number 8.

    No disrespect to Kaymer but for the European team's chances in the Ryder Cup, it would suit for Colsaerts to make the team automatically and for the wildcards to be Padraig Harrington and Ian Poulter. Olazabal doesn't seem to fancy picking Harrington but he has played some great golf this year and is a great competitor. The results haven't matched the performances at times.

    Great to see Garcia playing well. He is such a great player for the Ryder Cup team because he has such a great record with Westwood and Donald. With Westwood it is 5-1-1, with Donald it is 4-0-0. Garcia and Donald in foursomes is as formidable as it gets, relentless.

  • Comment number 9.

    Looking at our team on paper im feeling very confident.We also have a terrific captain.
    Lets hope that the match is played in the true spirit of the game and the American "fans" dont behave like football fans....that annoys me so much!

  • Comment number 10.

    Make no mistake, Garcia winning at Greensboro and geting in the team as of right is a huge result for Europe's Ryder Cup hopes. A fit, firing, in-form and confident Garcia will be some asset. I'm pleased he seems to have got his mojo back, and I'm pleased he's been able to show some form at the right time.

    I do agree with (half of) #8's sentiments that it may be Europe's best interests if Colesarts were to win at Gleneagles, and push the resting and out-of-sorts Kaymer from the automatic places. I've bemoaned on here in recent weeks how a few of Europe's players were losing form just at the wrong time (Westwood is still a bit of worry, for me) so to have a player in pretty decent nick replace one who isn't would be an ideal scenario. Harsh on Kaymer? Perhaps, but Ryder Cups have never been won by sentimentality.

    Where I do think people are barking up the wrong tree is suggesting Harrington should be the benificiary if Kaymer were to fall out. Leaving aside that Ollie has pretty much spelt out 'I WON'T PICK HARRINGTON' in 10-foot high letters (The two had a massive falling out at- ironically- a Seve Trophy match a few years back), is Harrington really an improvement over Kaymer? Poor RC record, very fortunate to get a pick last time out, and the PGA showed that although he's improved his form a bit, he's prone to following up a birdie-birdie streak with a triple-bogey in there to spoil things.

  • Comment number 11.

    My Boy Sergio! won me some fantasy points didnt he? Regarding Harrington...i would take a birdie birdie triple bogey streak in Matchplay, you'd still be 1 up probably!

  • Comment number 12.

    golden bear #1 #2 AND #3!...please stay on-topic...getting tedious now

    ross @10...agree with you re garcia, kaymer & westwood but, personally, harrington would get my nod

    who would you take if colsaerts plays his way in and kaymer becomes a casualty?

  • Comment number 13.

    I'm over the moon, as it were with Sergios performance. It's seems we have an inspirational Spanish captain again. Europes RC team is looking a really strong unit with the slight exception of Kaymer. Ideally Colsaerts will play his way in this week so Olly can pick Poulter (a must) and IMHO look further down the World points list at Jamie Donaldson for the last spot.

  • Comment number 14.

    Morning Ian a good blog building ready for the Ryder cup. Sergio loves the Ryder cup and would more than likely have got a pick.
    I hope colesaerts makes the team automatically as pushing the out of form Kaymer out of the team would be no bad thing. Kaymer two years ago seemed to have the golfing world at his feet a major win and world number one now struggling to make cuts. Anyone any idea why things have gone so wrong , I know all about the changes last year for Augusta but this year nothing has happened for him.

    Tony Jonhstone to work with Lee sounds like a good move to me, all the south Africans are great bunker/ short game players lets hope he is the key to future Westy success.
    It will be a great Ryder cup this year but for me the Americans will have home advantage and look like having a great team who will not want to lose at home so see them as the winners.

  • Comment number 15.

    Harrington was out of form and got the pick in 2010 and was praised afterwards for giving Ross Fisher the line for his putts , that's not enough reason for picking a player who hasn't won since then.
    Kaymer and Coelsarts will be fine but if there was a pick from lower on the list I'd go with Cabrera Bello as an additional Spaniard or the gritty and underestimated Simon Dyson

  • Comment number 16.

    #13 - agreed that Kaymer knocked back by Colsaerts would be a good result. Poulter will certainly be playing and l wouldn't be surprised if Siem or Cabrera-Bello get the nod over Paddy

  • Comment number 17.

    Its wonderful to see Sergio on the podium again - and as others have said his flair and game suit matchplay golf. Won't matter if he has an 8 in the middle of the round only cost him one hole. With a Spanish captain, the spirit of Seve, nad a bit of team love Sergio can only flourish in one of his favourite environments!!

    For those saying the yanks are going to win easily, well the last two winners of PGA events have been Europeans - so I bet they are wondering where their big dogs are whilst some of ours are finding form.

    Kaymer should not go - he has not had any form to speak of really.

    What abour Edoardo Molinari? partner his brother and get us some points. Jimenez?? another spanish string to the bow and heaps of experience and he has played okay this year!

    Harrington will not be on the team.

  • Comment number 18.

    yorkshire @17...as a proud italian, i'd dearly love to see both molinaris at medinah but ed is convalescing from a serious wrist injury so isn't in the frame this time...wouldn't take manassero long to pack though!!!

  • Comment number 19.

    manassero would be interesting!

    we do need something different if we are going to go with a rookie - such as Quiroz's power. no point taking another steady good golfer like Dyson IMO.

  • Comment number 20.

    yep, yorkshire...quiros is a great shout...on his day, he can live with anybody and he has a great attitude to the game...always a pleasure to watch and SO long...garcia and quiros...wow...now there's a pairing i'd pay good money to watch!

  • Comment number 21.

    #19 A steady golfer like Stricker, Johnson, Dufner you mean???

  • Comment number 22.

    Is Colsaerts a rookie? He does have experience in the Seve Trophy and the World Cup but I cant remember if he's played RC. If the team is as Iain says then he would be the only rookie. It's this experience that will carry Europe to a narrow victory.

  • Comment number 23.

    # 21

    we have our steady golfers!

    I would say that Rose Lawrie Molinari and Hanson are all great golfers but "steady" - not to be derogatory but you wouldn't get paired against them and think jesus he can do x great (maybe exception of Lawrie's putting)

    but you get paired against quiroz you would fear his power - yes it has to be controlled and it can back fire, but nothing wrong with something a little different

  • Comment number 24.

    Gleneagles is not really suited to Colsaert's game - I can't see him doing that well there so he'll be relying on a pick and I think he'll get it. Winning the European Tour's Matchplay event has got to give him the edge over everyone else.

    Would expect him to be paired with Hanson.

  • Comment number 25.

    38 days to go and I'm already exited. Come on Europe.

  • Comment number 26.

    12. At 09:08 21st Aug 2012, the2ironkid wrote:
    _____________________________________

    I'm just trying to become "one of you". You know, things like a dash to the next page by making numerous posts with just one word in it, out of topic remarks done by the usual suspects, etc.

    Interesting how it doesn't get "tedious" if one of the "others" do it :)

    Interesting also to note the phrase "it's getting tedious", since I've not really posted much recently.


    Like I said.......................................
    When you remove all impossibles, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

  • Comment number 27.

    Dear Iain,

    I read your article with great interest. Personally, I have been a fan of Ian Poulter for the past few years. A question - if he does particularly well in the Barclays later this week, could he regain a 10th automatic spot in the RC team? If so, then Olazabal's choice could be even more interesting! In principle, I believe Ian should be a wild card pick anyway - although he hasn't done particularly well in the two match play events in 2012, he hasn't missed a cut in any of the stroke play events during this year. He has had 3 top 10 finishes in the Majors, so it's not just his PGA form, which would earn him a wild card pick. I still believe that Rafa Cabrero-Bello may be in with a shout if he does well in Scotland, particularly if Colsaerts misses the cut.

    For me, Kaymer is the current weak link, whatever the composition of the team. He's now dropped down below the world's top 20 - think where he was a couple of years ago.

    As a final comment, which I admit is bordering on the radical and will probably cause some reaction, would it be an idea for the Ryder Cup captain and his team of vice-captains to have the complete freedom to select the 12 Europeans, who are currently on top of there game, irrespective of where they stand in the various tables of merit? Couple this with other attributes the team could offer such as inspiraration, motivation, leadership, respect, confidence etc: and you may have the ultimate winning formula.

    Best regards,

    Peter Hayes

  • Comment number 28.

    #23 Quiros is in a bigger slump than Kaymer - just 5 cuts in 16 events this year. He's put his clubs away for the rest of the season and Westwood has "borrowed" his caddy for the rest of the season.

  • Comment number 29.

    Get Monty in!!

  • Comment number 30.

    I am not sure but think a good result at the Barclays could put poulter back in auto spot but if colesaert was to win in Scotland not sure how it would pan out.
    Poulter will be in anyway, regarding fourth assistant it has to be Jimenez as he won't make the team.
    whoever said pick quiros knows their stuff he is suffering with a wrist injury and is well out of sorts.
    Dyson has a good walker cup and we've trophy record so might get in, but its all down to Olly and who he feels is the best fit for the team.

  • Comment number 31.

    golden bear...@26...nothing personal and apologies for any offence...i promise you all the other culprits are just as tedious!

    as a peace offering, for me, you're still the best of all time!

  • Comment number 32.

    2ironkid- to answer your question, if we get the 'perfect storm' and Colesarts does knock Kaymer out then I would give it to the most in-form European player not already there- at the moment I'd suggest that's Jamie Donaldson. However, I'd also be prepared to mitigate for a stand-out performance at either Bethpage or Gleneagles. Colesarts needs only a Tied-2nd to make the team so it doesn't preclude the possibility of someobody (such as Donaldson, Rafa Cebrera-Bello etc) copying Ed Molinari and winning (or at least coming close) at Gleneagles with a 'pick me' performance. Of course, as the sides aren't announced til Monday, it would also allow for somebody like Harrington or Laird winning The Barclays.

    None of which, I admit, answers your question! At he moment, I would give serious thought to picking Donaldson. I have a feeling that JMO himself would go with another Spaniard- RCB being the most obvious.

  • Comment number 33.

    #30, although the ET aren't announcing the squad until Monday, The Barclays does not count to the RC World Points list- the ET categroically state that the list closes with teh conclusion of play at Gleneagles. Of course, a good performance there would be taken into account re: Captain's picks, but as Poults is liekly to make the team anyway, I'd suggest that its only relevant if Colesarts were to displace Kaymer and leave Ollie searching for a second pick,

  • Comment number 34.

    Was going to reply to my fellow AD ex-pat @27 but @33 beat me to it.

    I would like to say though that I wouldn't mind seeing Mateo at the RC this year as he may replicate Ricky Fowler from Celtic Manor, which would be a bonus point or half on what will probably be a very close final day singles. Would have liked to have suggested Tom Lewis but he is in worse form than Kaymer.

    And to ruin a perfectly good post... anyone who comments just "First Post" should be excluded from discussion groups on the basis of their lack of intellect.

    C

  • Comment number 35.

    @ 20,the2ironkid...i would disagree about Quiros...i followed him at the Open this year for about 9 holes and his attitude stunk. He was in a foul mood and looked like he didnt care. He was also rushing his playing partners, he had missed the cut and just wanted away. No excuse for being rude though. He was not a pleasure to watch at all.

  • Comment number 36.

    Sorry forgot to change my name back after an experiment with settings.

    C

  • Comment number 37.

    CJTebb actually touches on a very good point- look back through the last 3 or 4 years and have a look at all the young Euro players who have 'announced' themselves- Rory McIlroy, Kaymer, Tom Lewis, Matteo Mannasero, Alvaro Quiros, Alex Noren, hell even Shane Lowry! You'd have thought that most of these would be pushing for RC places by now, but only McIlroy has really bore fruit. I remember after his 2010 PGA win when Kaymer was 'the coming man' and was talked about as a multi-Major winner and long-time world #1 even more than Rory is now by those in the know. It's a shame that none of these players seem to have kicked on. This year's 12th man really is an issue.

  • Comment number 38.

    sparticus...@35...i stand corrected...i guess the camera sometimes lies!...i never would have thought that about quiros if you hadn't witnessed it first hand


    maybe i've been wrong about westwood all along!!! [that'll set the hare running!]

  • Comment number 39.

    In defence of Harrington, since the Masters, Harrington has 8 top 25s, including really good performances in three of the four majors. I understand if he doesn't make it but he should definitely be a contender. He has played on four winning teams, that's got to be worth something.

  • Comment number 40.

    The challenge for Olly will be to work out potential playing partners - that's what will determine the wild card picks. Some obvious groupings - Luke & Sergio, Poults & Rose, Westwood & Lawrie maybe but the tricky pairing could be Rory and ......? Is G-Mac, with a very different style the right partner?

  • Comment number 41.

    Harrington will be a wildcard no doubt. 3 time major winner, 3 great finishes in majors this year. Great ryder cup record. Boom...the man has it all.

    Poulter has done nothing all year except 9 good holes before the wheels fell off. He does not deserve to be picked on that one 9 hole performance.

  • Comment number 42.

    #39- yes Harrington has played on four winning teams- but how much has he contributed to those teams? A quick scan of the record books shows he contributed a commendable 2 pts (from 4 matches, including a singles win) in 2002, and an excellent 4 (from 5, again including a singles win) in 2004. From there it all goes downhill, however. He contribued a mere half point in the home match at the K Club (despite in playing all 5 rubbers), and 2 from 5 at Celtic Manor (following on from a half point from 4 in a losing casue at Valhalla). In recent times, he's lost as many matches as he's won.

    I wasn't aware he'd has that many top 25's, though I knew he'd had a good yeear in majors (except the Open, maybe). Like I say, If Colesarts makes it as of right and Paddy wins the Barclays, he'd be hard to leave out...

    #40-Re: McIlroy's partner- GMac and Rory have a 1-1-1 win-loss-half record from Celtic Manor. As he and GMac are great mates, surely it's worth persereving with for Day 1 at Medinah?

  • Comment number 43.

    #41.
    Re Poulter comments..........................absolute rubbish, 16 out of 16 cuts made, and a better Ryder Cup record than Harrington..

  • Comment number 44.

    James Matthew- Why should Poulter get picked? I don't know, but perhaps his 4 from 5 win record at Valhalla, and his 3 from 4 at Celtic Manor (coupled with Match Play Championship wins in both Europe and the US) MIGHT have something to do with it? Compare his record with Harringtons recent RC record I posted above!

    And don't play the multi-major winner card either- PH's record in strokeplay events that took place in 2007/08 is IRRELEVANT to a Match Play contest taking place in 2012! Monty plaed that at Celtic Manor when the wisdom of selecting PH was questioned. He couldn't dine out on it then, he certainly can't do it 4 years later!

  • Comment number 45.

    I think the Issue of Europes picks is pretty much redundant unless Colsaerts ousts Kaymer. Poulter is surely a virtual certainty for a pick and to be honest i'd say that Colsaerts is the same. This is backed up even more by the fact that Olly has discussed the RC with Colsaerts and at the same time virtually dismissed Harringtons chances

    Were Colsaerts to make the top 2 at Gleneagles then the list of potential picks looks pretty uninspiring to me. Cab-Bello, Dyson, Donaldson, Quiros, Mannassero, Laird. I cant say that there is any outstanding candidates amongst that lot. Carl Pettersson though ineligable to qualify due to never having had a Euro Tour card is the form European and in my opinion the best option, however i dont know if Olly is allowed to pick him, I dont see why he shouldnt be though.

  • Comment number 46.

    45- I don't Carl Pettersen actually wants to represent Europe. Every time it's been rasied in an interview (including one at greensboro at the weekend), he's always talked like it's no big deal to him. He's never really showed the slightest interest in European Golf, or playing in The Ryder Cup. Contrast this with other USA-based European players like Martin laird or Feddie Jacobson, who have mantained a sembelance of ET meembership, so they could be considered for the RC.
    CP's actually on the Tournament Commitee for The Wyndham Championship (it's based just down the road from where he lives), he played a big part in making sure the tournament wasn't dropped by the PGA Tour a few years back. He considers himself a Carolinan native and attracts as much local backing there as much as other locals like Webb Simpson and Jason Dufner are. In other words, I think CP's loyalty to Europe vs The US is very questionable indeed, and I'd even go as far as to sugegst he 'feels' more American, having most of his life there and having taking US citizenship.

  • Comment number 47.

    #41 Seriously?
    I'm no fan of Poulter as an individual but he'd be one of the first names on the team sheet when the RC comes around. As already stated he has a fantastic record in recent RC's.

  • Comment number 48.

    @Ross1980 are you being ironic? You say PHs 3 majors from 07/08 are irrelevant...yet your going on about IPs last 2 ryder cups which stem back to 2008?

    Poulter never plays well in USA which is where the RyderCup is on.
    He has ONE win in the US from a 20 year career and ONE top 10 finish in a major in the US.

    He's an average European player thats about it.

  • Comment number 49.

    Aware of all of the above, but at the same time that doesnt make him a bad option if that option is available. I dont think that the likes of Laird or Jacobsen maintaining their Euro Tour Card really constitutes making any sort of a commitment to the Ryder Cup.

    If Pettersson actually doesnt want to play Ryder Cup that is a different kettle of fish but I haven't heard him specifically say that.

  • Comment number 50.

    Yes PH's Major record is irrelevant because they were strokeplay events! I don't know if you've noticed but the RC is a Match Play event (that's why I emphasised it in the post to which your referring). Now, I agree the two are not mutually exclusive, but they are different forms of the game (In the same way Test Cricket differs from Limited overs Cricket). Harrington's recent match play record (including RC's) is really poor, Poulter's record over the same period is much better. There should be no contest between the two. Argue for PH's selection on his own terms by all means, but don't for one second suggest that he'd somehow be an improvement over Poulter.

  • Comment number 51.

    Harrington's Ryder Cup record is 10.5 points from a possible 25 - hard to pick anybody with that record. Poulter looks like a shoo-in to me, on current form and RC record of 8 points from a possible 11.
    It looks like Donaldson has better recent form than the other contenders for the second Captain's pick.

  • Comment number 52.

    49- "I dont think that the likes of Laird or Jacobsen maintaining their Euro Tour Card really constitutes making any sort of a commitment to the Ryder Cup."

    I agree it's tokenism to a degree. I would point out that Martin Laird specifically took out associate membership (note that Full memebership, and a full plying schedule is NOT required) so he could be considered for the RC. The rules regarding RC qualification and ET membership are well known. If Pettersen wanted to, he could have followed the same path as the two cases I've mentioned, it wouldn't have required much commitment on his part, and would have served notice of his intent to those in power at Wentworth. The ET have been gulty of protectionism when it comes to the RC and Euro players who chose to play in America, but on this one, I can't really fault them.

  • Comment number 53.

    @48. JAMESMATTHEW. Your conclusion, which some might care to disagree with, that Poulter is an average european golfer is based upon his record in the USA on strokeplay events.

    His RC record in USA, which I'm sure you realise is matchplay, is 5W L2.

    'Average' golfer or not he would appear good enough to beat the americans.

  • Comment number 54.

    If Olle has already ruled out Harrington that could be a very big mistake (anyone know if this is in fact the case??).

    I hope Colsearts gets the final automatic place this coming weekend. If he does who would pick Kaymer ahead of Harrington on current form!! Do we really want to gamble on RCBello, Siem, Dyson, Donaldson and any number of other rookies mentioned on this blog over in USA?

    Colsearts needs to do the team a favour and automatically qualify and knock Kaymer out and Olle needs to swallow his pride (if he has to) and pick Harrington who will be better able to handle the pressure/atmos of a RC on USA soil.

  • Comment number 55.

    Quite right Ross - Pettersson hasnt shown any comitment towards playing in the Ryder Cup. The point is that he's the form Euro Golfer out of all those not in the team, He has played well all year and is a better option if available and willing then anyone else.

    I certaintly wouldnt be inclined to pick Laird or Jacobsen over him on the basis of what is a very minor gesture

  • Comment number 56.

    The Ryder Cup has been massively over-hyped for the last 20 years. (The rot set in at Kiawah island in 1991). The USA are 'up' already as their captain has four picks, as opposed to Ollie's two. I agree with the comment already posted - it would be good if the Captain and Vice Captains could pick all twelve. The system was put in place as a defensive mechanism by the European PGA to discourage their B list players from becoming A list players by competing primarily in America. The other flaw is that the points sytem rewards multiple appearances and consistency, rather than flair. There is always a 'row' about the wild card choices. Last time out was not Monty's finest hour. First, he picked Eduardo Molinari on the back of three birdies on 16, 17 and 18 to win at Gleneagles, whilst the US tournament of the day was still going on, so that figures such as Casey and Harrington heard the bad news and good news respectively whilst still playing or about to begin their rounds. Fortunately, this nonsense won't happen again as the announcement is now on the Monday. Harrington should never have been picked last time and contributed, as so often, very, very little to the points total. Donald (picked) and one of Casey and Rose should have got the nod. Ollie has made it clear Harrington won't get the nod this time (perhaps a bit harshly, but still the right decision.) Poulter is obviously a cert (he is not incidentally playing at Gleneagles and his US tournament doesn't carry Ryder Cup points.) Quite a few possibles after Poulter (the 11th man). I like the idea, as someone suggests, of Simon Dyson. America must be the favourites overall though.

  • Comment number 57.

    #54- I don't know tyhe full details but it goes back to a incident between teh two at a Seve Trophy match some time ago, which resulted in a huge misunderstanding, Ollie having to conceed a hole to Harrington and JMo believing PH had accused him of cheating (a serious accusation if that's what was intended!)

    Eitehr way JMO has pretty never forgiven or forgotten the incident. A quick read of JMO's interview prior to this years PGA will give you a clue- he pretty much said that for PH to make the team, he'd have to win the PGA (and therefore make the team as of right) and said, in not-so-coded language, he wouldn't consider him for a pick

  • Comment number 58.

    Jimmy, don't get me wrong, I wasn't for one second sugegsting that FJ or ML should have been picked. And I agree completely re: Pettersen being one of the best Euro golfers, esp in an American RC (He has 6 tournament wins on US soil, more than any currently active European player except Sergio). I just think what I've seen/read about him (which I admit is not much) indicates an antipathy to representing Europe that The Et probably don't wish to encorage

  • Comment number 59.

    TheRealJimmy. Going early with picks as they never do me any good anyway.
    Johnie Walker.
    F. Molinari
    Jimenez
    Larrazabal

    Barclays.
    Tiger Woods
    Rory McIlroy
    Bo Van Pelt.

  • Comment number 60.

    Ross - I think we can agree on that point The problem from a euro point of view is that a guy who clearly doesnt have a great deal of passion for the event is arguably (certainly in my opinion) one of the best 12 candidates.

    USA has the problem of who to leave out, Europe has the problem of who to pick if Colsaerts makes the team automatically.

    I'm not a fan of the Idea that the captains just pick all twelve players. I think the Ryder Cup should be Open to all players in order to retain its status as one of the peaks of the game, and to do that it must be Open to all and also be seen to be Open to all.

  • Comment number 61.

    Harrington didn't deserve the pick last time but he certainly deserves it this time. He finished tenth on the list of major performances this year. Only McDowell and McIlroy from the present European tour Ryder cup team finished above him. He was also one of only 12 players that didn't miss the cut in a major this year.

    Right now given the choice of having him in a pressure situation at a big tournament or having Westwood, Donald or Kaymer i know who i would pick. Harrington is paying the price for not getting on with Ollie, in the same way that he got the nod last time because of his friendship with Monty.

  • Comment number 62.

    Jimmy- Amen. I've bemoaned the protectionism that the ET has exhibited in the past on these very pages in the run-up to previous Ryder Cups. I for one don't want it to simply become a means of keeping the top Euro players loyal to the ET at the expense of playing against better players in better events on the PGA Tour.

  • Comment number 63.

    I dont think Harrington will get a pick as ollie has already pointed out, but for all those who are talking about his poor record look at the anount of partners he has been placed with since 2006. Harrington has had 7 partners where Polulter, Donald and Garcia have had time to build up a partnership. I believe this has led him to having a not great record recently as he is the one often chosen to play with the rookie.

  • Comment number 64.

    If you let the captain pick all 12 players it would become a farce and open to it becoming a mates club as personalities and Egos would get in the way of picking the best team. Remember these guys play a very individual sport 99% of the time and its a competitive game playing for huge sums of money. Petty disputes would make a mockery of it.
    Remember the story of how Mark James ripped up Faldos letter in front of the team, shameful and disrespectful against his former team mate.
    Like the world ranking system the qualification is what it is agree or disagree its there for a reason to try and make sure the best players qualify.
    Olly chose to have less picks so he has faith in the qualifying process. The Americans wanted more picks to safeguard certain players who would not qualify automatically imo.
    Olly will have his pairs in mind and he and his assistants worked with most of them at Celtic Manor so it wont be too difficult to put pairs together. You have some players who you could stick with anyone and they will perform Poulter, G Mac, Westwood, Donald, Sergio. I don't think the pairings are as important as its made out as long as the players get along they all share one thing in common they want to win.

  • Comment number 65.

    Further to my comment at 13.39, in 2010 of course Europe, unusually if not uniquely, had of course THREE picks rather than two (why has this changed?) So Monty picked Donald (rightly) and then Harrington and Eduardo Molinari. The last two picks IMHO (and that of many others) should have been Casey and Rose, NOT Case R Rose. Didn't Casey and Monty have a falling out? Whatever, Harrington shouldn't have been picked and didn't deliver. He can have no cause for complaint when he is not picked this time.

  • Comment number 66.

    Fabulous win for Segio. Great to see him back at the top of leaderboards and putting extremely well.

    looking at the figures it doesn't appear possible for Colsaerts to oust Kaymer from the team, seeing as the World Points is now closed and the purse at the Johnny Walker is not sufficient for to overtake Molinari on Euros even if he wins.

    If the picks are not Poults and Colsaerts I'll be amazed... but I'd love to see wee Pablo in the mix (maybe next time).

  • Comment number 67.

    @65 Yes Monty had 3 picks Olly said 2 was enough, the more picks you have the more potential controversy over who you leave out/ pick. Monty wanted Harrington as they had been partners previously and wanted experience, that is not the case this time round.

  • Comment number 68.

    sorry jimmy [@60]...i can't agree...a good while ago, i suggested on this board that the cap'n should have 12 picks and i stand by that 100%...how would that stop it being open to all?

    would you pick the olympic 4x100 team based on the fastest times 2 years ago?...would you pick your world cup soccer team from players that were 'hot' 2 years ago etc etc

    equally importantly, i think, is the issue of 'pairings' and the cap'n could be precluded from selecting his strongest pairs because one has qualified and the other hasn't...cast your mind back...what if, for example, you considered seve [rip] and ollie invincible but one had qualified and the other hadn't?!

    you should go into the rc with your strongest 12 and i think '12 picks' would maximise the likelihood of that happening...of course, it would still be a subjective call by the cap'n but isn't that his job?!

    as for those suggesting kaymer should do the honourable thing and voluntarily stand down, are you serious?...would you?

  • Comment number 69.

    I am hoping given Kaymers current form and performances this year that he will do the decent thing and tell Ollie to leave him out of his reckoning.

  • Comment number 70.

    With regard to the other issue in Iain's piece how did they chose the first two women to gain membership to Augusta. What have Condeleezza Rice and Darla Moore (?????) done to get that particular honour. Is this just a sop to the politically correct brigade. Is there nothing sacred anymore. Will they be working the bar or the restaurant or be allowed onto the hallowed turf?

  • Comment number 71.

    Whilst watching Garcia win the Wyndham Tournament, the commentator said that Carl Pettersson (Swedish and US national) could not play for either team. Pettersson hoped to be a Captain's Choice for Europe. Why is he ineligible?

  • Comment number 72.

    2ik - I wouldnt ever suggest picking a sprint team or a football team on the same basis as picking a golf team, the comparison doesnt work. However olympians still have a qualification process to go through in most if not all countries so its isnt just a case of picking the team based on one mans judgement and nothing else.

    The captain having 12 picks would still be open to all but it wouldnt necessarily be seen to be open to all. Like davey said above there would then be the potential for the RC team to be a mates club, or at least appear to be so. Having a clear qualifying system rules out this accusation entirely.

  • Comment number 73.

    jimmy [@72]...we won't agree on this but i respect your viewpoint...but on that basis why give the captain any picks at all?!...you may as well make all 12 positions decided on 'merit' and save any debate/controversy

    wcihis [@70]...you're a man after my heart and i agree with you 100%...it's scandalous! [but then maybe they really are short-staffed in the restaurant so that's ok!]...note to the r&a and 'edinburgh golfers' - don't lay down to these people...keep the faith!

  • Comment number 74.

    @73 - That is a much better suggestion than giving the captain 12 picks in my opinion. Good Luck to anyone trying to prize those precious picks from any future captain though, I'd say the chances are about as good as the chances of getting Kaymer to voluntarily stand down

  • Comment number 75.

    #71- long stroy short, Carl Pettersen was born in Sweden (no, really!) but moved to Engalnd and ultimately the USA at a young age, went to High School and College in America, played Golf in teh US Collegeate system, graduated to the PGA Tour their, made a nice living for himself, married an American, brought his kids up as Americans and eventually took US citizenship himself this year.

    He's never taken ET membership as he's never really lived in Europe whilst he's been playing golf, and when he became succesul enough in the States he didn't really see the need to be a member of both tours- he has cited time-consuming and energy-sapping travelling bewteen continents as a contrubuting factor as to why he doesn't play both tours, and as the PGA Tour is far more lucartive and he is well settled there, he sees no reason to change his stance.

    Now The PGA of America (Note this is seperate body from the PGA Tour) who select the US Ryder Cup team have a rule which states taht for a player to be eligible for their team, they must be a US citizen by age 18- which CP was not.

    The European issues are discussed in my earlier post, in essence the European Tour (who select Europe's team) insist on each palyer having some form of membership of the ET even if (like most of our best plaeyrs- Donald, McIlroy, Gmac etc.) they play most of their golf in the US. As Cp has no ET membership, and has never ahd to the best of my knowledge, The ET cannot pick him.

  • Comment number 76.

    WCIHIS ref women at Augusta it seems a token gesture just pick two high profile american ladies and make them members, er well done all at Augusta whatever next giving women the vote. Maybe they will get rid of the ridiculas whits caddy boiler suits they give such a bad impression for me.

  • Comment number 77.

    The Ryder cup team should be based on a qualification and in all fairness unless Olly has something in mind as it stands the next two to rightfully qualify would be Poulter and er you guessed it Colesearts so justice would be done. The only issue at present would be Kaymer who on the criteria for selection at present if knocked out of the automatic slots would still be next in line. It is what it is cant see any real surprises being sprung.

  • Comment number 78.

    2IK Whats your thoughts on Westy appointing his new coach?

  • Comment number 79.

    This is quite an old picture taken at a protest at Augusta a number of years ago. Always makes me laugh

    http://www.solport.com/roundtable/archives/000053.php

    In true BBC style i take no responsibiliy for the content of the site and found the link to the picture through a google image search.

  • Comment number 80.

    Westwood is really a man who has gone back on what he believes in. He always disliked playing in the US and even convinced Rory not to play there at one stage.
    And after all his talk of remaining loyal to the European Tour now he joins the US tour for probably the remainder of his career.
    What a turn coat.
    He still wont win a major...he prob wont win in the US ever again.

  • Comment number 81.

    We discussed the respective possible teams a few blogs ago (maybe May or June) and it looked quite even then, perhaps in Europe's favour. However I have a couple of concerns with Europe now, as have other people.

    Kaymer seems to right off form#
    Westwood's form has dipped
    Lawrie has possibly peaked
    Some of the other potentially exciting prospects have not kicked on, eg Quiros, Laird. Also, several of those with RC experience are not playing well enough either eg Jiminez, Harrington, Casey

    Colsearts is probably the one player who has risen in stock since then.

    All in all it's not a bad team if you look at it. Two things in our favour are (1) there is time to regain form before it starts and (2) the Ryder Cup does not necessarily depend on 'form' going in. Torrances team were big underdogs on paper, but produced the goods.

    I also agree with sports_nut #9 about the spirit. I think the americans have been a disgrace in at least 2 Ryder Cups in the way they have incited the crowd, and hated the way Azinger called for the '13th man'. I've posted this before, but he may as well have said 'I'm not sure we can win fairly so please try and put the Europeans off'

  • Comment number 82.

    I would also like Colsaerts to win this week to force his way into team and Kaymer out, but I don't think it will happen. I'm pretty sure Harrington wont get picked and IF Colsaerts does force out Kaymer it'll be Poulter and either Donaldson or Cabrerra Bello.

  • Comment number 83.

    how's this for a lethal fourball

    McIlroy/McDowell

    Westwood/Donald

    Rose/Poulter

    Lawrie/Garcia

  • Comment number 84.

    83- would have thought donald and garcia would be re-united at some point? Agree with the two Macs and Rose/Poults.

  • Comment number 85.

  • Comment number 86.

    @TheRealJimmy. That's one of the funniest things I've seen in ages. I have never thought the Americans had a sense of humour but "Iron My Shirt" is priceless.

  • Comment number 87.

    I bet JMO said to SG either go out there and win or I'm not going to pick you !!!!

    What ever he said to him worked. He'll definitely be up for the RC and we'll be a better team for it. I still think we'll sneak a win. Azinger hated Faldo and managed to get the "13th man" going alright. I think JMO is more respected and DLIII a bit more placid. Kaymer has a couple of weeks solid practising in front of him !!!

  • Comment number 88.

    @ WCIHIS.....the 2 new lady members at Augusta are obviously fantastic cooks and a whizz with the dusting sticks. Why else would they be there ?

  • Comment number 89.

    WibbWobb, exactly, whatever next. Crikey they will be letting them play next! Any tee time they want between 1800 and 0700 daily except weekends.

  • Comment number 90.

    davey...@78...you know i'm no fan of westwood but i'll try and be totally dispassionate about my reply...

    first, i have huge respect for tony johnstone's short-game...show me a springbok/zimbabwean that can't get it up and down!...indeed, after gary player, there are few finer sand players...that said, a good player doesn't necessarily make a good coach [and vice versa] so the jury's out as to whether johnstone will succeed where mark roe tried [and failed miserably]

    not sure how the logistics will work...lw will become florida based but i thought tj was uk based...either way, i'm sure they'll find a workaround to that issue

    bottom line, for me, is this...lw has a supreme long-game but his short-game [relative to his peers] is, at best, mediocre [i would say poor], and his ability to get over the line at the very highest level [i.e. majors] is suspect

    personally, i don't like the troupe of hangers-on that surrounds pros of the modern era...the swing coach, the short-game coach, the putting coach, the mental guru, the manager etc etc...can you imagine ben hogan or sam snead with that lot?!

    my advice to westwood would be this...lose the crowd...you need to find the answer to your issues in two places, and on your own...first, on the practice ground and second, in the mirror...the former is where you'll put your short-game right and the latter is where you'll exorcise your demons

    the key is the latter…no matter how hard you practice, and who your coach is, you can’t replicate pressure…any pro can make a 6-foot snaking downhiller on the practice ground but, when it’s to win the masters, some pros get the job done and some pros reach for their brown trousers

    for all the difference it makes, here’s my REAL opinion…you’ve either got it or you haven’t…and westwood isn’t made of the right stuff…some pros play their best golf when they’re not in contention [e.g. westwood] and some pros only play their best golf when they ARE in contention and the heat is on [e.g. mickelson]

    what's your prognosis, davey?

  • Comment number 91.

    Lee will come good at the RC. Perfect partned for Luke I think, fourballs and foursomes. As has been posted many times this is not a four round stroke play event but match play at its finest and is europes trophy again this year.

  • Comment number 92.

    Very fond of the grand pronouncements Keith, I just hope there is most accuracy this time around than in the previous "When woods wins he'll go back to number 1" episodes.

    I wish I shared your optimism.

    I think the issue of the Euro picks has already been done to death, mainly because unless JMO springs a massive surprise we know who he'll pick anyway. The US picks are actually more interesting.

    Stricker seems to be a certainty, mainly because he can play with Woods (Though why it should be so hard to find a partner for him is a mystery to me, doesnt speak volumes for him) Furyk is in good form and lends valuable experience. I'd expect those two to be stuck on as certaintes

    Fowler and Mahan seem like obvious picks but neither is in good form like they were at the start of the season and Fowler in particular is having a stinker, Haas is coming back to form and Dustin is a player who like Colsaerts could put the fear of god into an opponent with his distance. Plus there are a few other outsiders who could be considered for a pick. I certainly think the other side of the pond is where the intrigue lies in the build up.

  • Comment number 93.

    @ 2IK....I'll agree that LW hasn't shown great form recently but this is a player who has won numerous times on all the different tours. He is an excellent RC player and won the Race to Dubai the other year with a closing 63. I think he realises that a Major on his CV is the only thing that is missing and if he believes that moving State-side and getting a new coach is the way to go who are we to question this ?

  • Comment number 94.

    Westwood total earnings $50,000,000 to date.

    39 Professional wins.

    5 times on winning team in Ryder Cup.





    Sanctimonious acidic below stairs types on forums.........PRICELESS

  • Comment number 95.

    @90 2IK. A well argued viewpoint and certainly worthy of consideration/discussion and a million miles away from your first few post on these pages in respect of Lee when you argued quite passionately that he was crap because he’s boring and you don’t like him.

    I’m in agreement with most of your points regarding his strength's and weaknesses but find it especially interesting what you say about 'hangers on'. Do you believe the myriad of coaches available are having a detrimental effect on his and his fellow professionals in the game? Personally I can’t see Tiger has necessarily benefited from the number of swing coaches he has had over the years for example but to ditch all and go it alone would undoubtedly fly in the face of modern wisdom wouldn’t you say and perhaps be an even bigger gamble than his imminent move to the US?

    Can’t agree with your Phil comparison however. At 2004 US Open Phil ran up a double-bogey at the par-three 17th after three-putting from five feet!! to throw it away to Goosen

    At 2006 US Open he entered the last hole needing par to win and bogey to force a playoff but made double bogey 6!!

    At 2009 US Open Phil tied Glover for the lead after making an eagle at 13 but proceeded to miss a short birdie putt on 14, three-putt for bogey on 15, miss another putt on 16, and made another bogey on 17 on his way to finishing two strokes behind.

    Ok so perhaps with Phil its more a case of the beige rather than brown trousers but even the best fill thier pants more often than you would perhaps think.

  • Comment number 96.

    2IK The Westwood verdict is this as I see it tee to green when on song is probably the best in the world. His putting is suspect and his short game not up to the standard of his peers.
    He got to world number one with the said flaws so fitness and and age aside he has some time to improve his known weak areas.
    The move to the States will be seen in some cynical circles as money chasing for which I disagree as he is in a position where money is not an issue. The move is to allow more practice time during the off season.
    Tony Jonhnson seems to know his stuff as a pundit so we will wait and see if he is the piece of the puzzle to take Lee to another level. Regarding Mark Roe Lee only worked with him for a while about 3 years ago so not sure how much impact he really had.
    I would love to see him win a major and with an improved short game he should do it with ease.

  • Comment number 97.

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

  • Comment number 98.

    2ik just looked at your post 90 again and I am not sure where your info is from but to my knowledge Lee is not a big one for hangers on, if you know different then who are they as as far as I know he does not have a shrink and coach wise he only had Cowen so really not sure who your on about.
    The only other thing that I read and this was from his manager was that he does not structure his practice very well although has a very structured approach to the gym. I was a little surprised that he has not spoke to Luke Donald about his work with Dave Alred who has a very structured approach to practice.

  • Comment number 99.

    Jimmy, oops sorry TheRealJimmy, I'm just an old optimist who thinks if I say and think it often enough it will happen. No more grand pronouncements then until it happens.
    What sort of course is Medinha, who does it suit best in your opinion. Bombers or strategists?

  • Comment number 100.

    rants @95...i agree mickelson has had his share of sunday blow-outs but i actually think he's TOO aggressive...anyway, i'm no mickelson groupie...his was just a name that sprang to mind for the purpose of making a comparison

    re the 'hangers on', yes, i would ditch them all...a big risk, i know, but hell, he's tried everything else and i really think he needs to work things out for himself [or maybe confine his entourage to just one trusted adviser]

    davey @96...for everything i've ever said about westwood [and i've said alot!], never have i said or thought that he's a money-chaser...i think his motives in moving stateside are pure and genuine...i've also said i wish him well...i guess, deep down, my biggest problem with westwood is that he believes his lofty position in the world rankings...he's good, but he's not THAT good!

    as ever, just my opinion...i know it grates with many fellow bloggers but at least i say it as i see it

 

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