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Olazabal has all the players and permutations he needs

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Iain Carter | 15:14 UK time, Monday, 27 August 2012

Rarely has the selection of Ryder Cup wild-cards been so straightforward.

It was no surprise when Jose Maria Olazabal named Ian Poulter and Nicolas Colsaerts to complete a line up that has the strength and blend of talent to make a confident defence of the trophy.

The fact is there is no European who can complain at not being in the side. The automatic qualification period accurately identified the top ten and it is impossible to argue against the captain's choices.

Much will be made of Colsaerts being the only rookie in the side that will travel to Medinah at the end of September.

Jose Maria Olazabal (left) welcomes Nicolas Colsaerts to the European Ryder Cup team

Olazabal's captain's picks offer experience and a range of combinations for the Ryder Cup. Photo: Getty

But it is not a team of old sweats. Along with the Belgian debutant, Rory McIlroy, Francesco Molinari, Peter Hanson and Martin Kaymer will be playing their first Ryder Cup away from home.

Lee Westwood, who will be making his eighth appearance, is the most experienced member of the European team. Sergio Garcia (5), Poulter (3) and Luke Donald (3) are the only other two have played in more than two matches.

The line up has a potent looking blend of youth and experience. "We have different sorts of players," Olazabal told BBC Sport.

"We have solid players like Luke and Lee and Rory and solid players like G-Mac [Graeme McDowell] and Ian Poulter, where they put their hearts into the matches.

"You have different characters like Francesco [Molinari] and cool characters like Martin [Kaymer] or Peter [Hanson]. So in that regard it is a great combination.

"If the players are playing well you can have different combinations that can make the team even stronger.

"We need to see how players are playing and how they feel about themselves and only then will we make decisions on pairings," Olazabal added.

The laid back Colsaerts is the team's self-confessed "cool dude". Even so he admitted to feeling nerves until he was summoned to the captain's room at the Gleneagles Hotel after the qualifying period closed on the Sunday night.

Face to face, Olazabal delivered the news the Belgian had been so desperate to hear. He is likely to complement well any of his potential partners and shouldn't be regarded as mere four-ball fodder because of his prodigious length.

The main concern surrounds the form of Martin Kaymer. The German is without a top-ten finish since the Malaysian Open in mid-April.

"We had a nice chat. He said to me that after the PGA he has worked hard for the last two weeks trying to get some form," Olazabal said.

"His schedule is to play in Holland and Italy and we will see how good his form is during those two weeks but he is determined to do well."

Olazabal sees no reason to put anyone on standby if Kaymer doesn't show any improvement. "I've played Ryder Cups when I've got to them playing great golf but I remember in '93 at the Belfry I was struggling with my game.

"Actually I made a phone call to Seve Ballesteros to say 'look, anybody else can do a better job than me' and he almost kicked my rear!

"Once you get to that week, because of the atmosphere and your team members, somehow your game improves."

Poulter brings more than points. His enthusiasm and confidence can be infectious and his 73% winning record from three matches is bettered only by Donald, who has won 77% of the Ryder Cup matches he has played in three previous contests.

From now until the matches the fun contest is to dream up potential pairings. The captain may be waiting until the week of the match but we can start now.

McIlroy and McDowell may well be joined at the hip for the week as might Poulter and Justin Rose. Donald with either Garcia or Westwood generates a fearsome combination.

Hanson alongside Paul Lawrie could work in both foursomes and four-balls and the same applies to Colsaerts and Molinari, who are of the same generation on the European Tour.

It is a team that should head to Chicago full of confidence but wary of a strong American side that boasts many of the form players of the year.

Nick Watney's victory at the Barclays thrusts him into the mind of skipper Davis Love. Next week he has to pick four from a list that also includes Hunter Mahan, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Brandt Snedeker.

Love's task is a lot less straightforward than Olazabal's was, but he will be delighted at the calibre of candidates he will be choosing from.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    europe will win !!

  • Comment number 2.

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

  • Comment number 3.

    Wow, here we go. The Ryder Cup hype machine starts again, where they make a story out of any frivolous event like who the vice-captains are (what do they actually do??) and try to make out the captaincy as like a Alex Ferguson vs Jose Mourinho duel (in reality the captains are glorified PR men.)

    The events worth watching, but all this nonsense that starts two months beforehand is tedious. And its a good example of the horrible 'old boys' culture that exists in golf. Even when a player can no longer play golf effectively they still get to be a part of it as a vice-captain.

  • Comment number 4.

    ahh!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 5.

    I think that McIlroy/McDowell, Donald/Garcia and Rose/Poulter are all near certain pairings for the opening foursomes. The only real doubt is who you would partner with Westwood. I would be tempted to go with Lawrie for the opening set, although Molinari is also tempting given his straight hitting.

  • Comment number 6.

    Iain

    Who would you pair together on the 1st morning ? and if none of them lost would you send them out again in the afternoon to try and get a stranglehold ,or do you believe every player should "taste " the action on the 1st day

  • Comment number 7.

    I honestly think, that whether or not he deserves it, has a good Ryder cup record etc, Harrington would be more likely to win points than Colsaerts...and that is what it's all about.

    Sadly I think Ollie probably did let an old grudge get in the way, but fortunately he had enough of a case against Harrington to help him.

  • Comment number 8.

    @therealjimmy

    Don't forget my bonus points :-)

  • Comment number 9.

    @2 I don't think so,do you :-)

  • Comment number 10.

    Also, I feel that it is one of these cliches/myths that longer hitters are good in fourballs, on the basis that they are more likely to get birdies....but I would say being a good putter is far more important, especially with the pressure of the Ryder Cup, what do other people think

  • Comment number 11.

    @Lord Voldermort

    I know you get excitied about the blog but typing "1st comment" isn't really a comment is it ?
    it is you saying I was here first, when in fact you were second and as everybody knows,nobody ever remebers the person who came second do they :-(

  • Comment number 12.

    Good luck but I fear the US will win at home soil only for Europe to get it back in Europe.

  • Comment number 13.

    @ 12 Maxtor, I agree, the US team looks very strong. But then, who could have expected what happened in 2004?!

  • Comment number 14.

    I think everyone will agree that they're the obvious picks, and on paper Europe have a very good side. I'm sure they're also the top 12 Europeans in the world (discounting Carl Pettersson!).
    Davis Love's picks will be interesting, especially after some good performances from Watney, Snedeker and Johnson on a very difficult course and a very deep field. Looking forward to it already!!

  • Comment number 15.

    #7 Harrington "has a good Ryder Cup record". Really. Played 25 W 9 L13 H 3 pts 10.5 He was very fortunate to get a captain's pick ahead of Casey and Rose last time. More particularly, last three Ryder Cups Played 13 W 2 L9 H2 pts 3

  • Comment number 16.

    I think for the foursomes, Garcia and Donald is a must pairing - 100% success record, same as Garcia Westwood in the fourballs, excellent record together. G-mac and Rory will be together for every pairing i'd imagine. Agree with the foursomes pairing of Colsaerts Molinari, Colsaerts hits it miles and straightish, Molinari's iron play is 2nd to none right now also. Where Kaymer, Lawrie and Hanson will fit in is a tough one to see, i'm sure Ole has a masterplan!
    Strong European team vs Strong American team, it should be a great Ryder Cup!

  • Comment number 17.

    @3, cheer up..!

  • Comment number 18.

    You can't make a case for Harrington. His Ryder Cup form simply isnt good enough, and that's coming from an Irishman.

    Also I don't think you can keep selecting the Ryder Cup team from the same group of players, unless they have earned it i.e not Harrington.
    Otherwise the Ryder Cup might develop some sort of exclusive air and certain peripheral players might feel that, even if they're playing well, they won't get a look in.
    The standard of golf in Europe is at an all time high and the players who are to play (whether they're Ryder cup rookies or whether it's their 8th) will have earned their places. The same goes for the captain's choices, they should be chosen on form and not on Ryder cup experience.

  • Comment number 19.

    Now the Euro team is finalised it looks strong. Plenty of experience, coupled with youth. The one rookie is a proven match player so no worries there. One worry is the form of Kaymer but this is the Ryder Cup and it will inspire him as it has done others in the past. Only 32 days to go and the excitement will build. When do the Americans name their final team?

  • Comment number 20.

    If anyone fancies doing the leg-work, would it be correct to say that this years Ryder Cup team will be the strongest ever in terms of the World Rankings of the players from both teams?

    CAN'T WAIT! :)

  • Comment number 21.

    No real surprise then with the team, it will be a great contest but I think home advantage will swing it for the USA.
    Manina Unless someone wants a rest if the pairs that go out in the morning win then I would send them out again points make prizes.

  • Comment number 22.

    RE #20 - It's ok. Someone over at the Golf Channel comments has pretty much done it by listing all the World Rankings for each team (plus the potential US wild cards.)

    Out of 24 players the lowest World Ranking will be Colsaerts at #35! Amazing!

  • Comment number 23.

    @19 WCIHIS...I'm led to believe that it'll be on the 3rd Sep. So a chance for a few who played well at Bethpage to get into Davis's mind with another good performance in Boston this week.
    @20 malmcleod.....Certainly will be strong with regards to the rankings, but the Americans have a few ahead of PM who haven't got in automatically. Hunter, Dustin, Stricker, Snedeker & Watney are all higher.

  • Comment number 24.

    Daveyboy. I don't believe Europe will be intimidated by the USA home ' advantage'. Most of our team play regularly on the PGA tour. The worry is the over hyped and over excited crowds that can get whipped into a biased frenzy. Remember the 13th man. The yanks will be worried about our team and will probably resort to all sorts of underhand tactics designed to put europe off. They were at it yesterday shouting 3 putt at Sergio at every opportunity.

  • Comment number 25.

    #3

    We'll all entitled to express a view. I suspect that you are probably not a grumpy old man, but you are doing a fairly decent impression of Bob Geldorf!

    Remember (take note of the spelling #11) that there is always the 'off' button before the main event begins if you so wish.

    As far as the 'old boys' culture is concerned, may I respectfully remind you that the VCs are going to provide very wise counsel throughout the event and, like any good leader and manager, JMO will consult prior to making the important pairing decisions and order of play in the singles, which will inevitably be the critical element.

    Regarding 'playing golf effectively' may I also jog your memory as to who won the Open in 2011!

    #14

    I agree with you that DL has a more difficult decision regarding his 4 wilds. In any event it will be a great Ryder Cup and the lads will do us proud - prediction: USA 13 Europe 15. Any advance!!

  • Comment number 26.

    @ 15 dancer_image I think you've misunderstood me - I meant to intimate that Harrington has a poor Ryder Cup record. I should have said 'bad' in hindsight!

  • Comment number 27.

    I think DL111 has problems with the form of his qualified players over which will be his picks. Have a look at last weeks results. Lawrie wins, Molinari and Colsaerts top 10. 5 euros above the cream of the yanks, including Westwood coming into form. Rose one shot off Phil, Kuch and Tiger. Ok Gmac had a bad week and missed the cut but he's a RC specialist.

  • Comment number 28.

    I AM SO EXCITED.

    Worried about Kaymer though. Needs a good talking to from Mr Langer I think! Can't wait to see a more mature Rory and GMac combination, and now that Mr Garcia has gotten his act together I think we have a fearsome team.

    Europe to win

  • Comment number 29.

    What bonus points manina?

    Have to say that im feeling pretty good about this euro team compared to how I did a month or so ago. However the US team is almost certainly going to be equally strong which will lend itself to what should be a great contest. The US may have some form concerns over a few players but there is time for those to be overcome.

  • Comment number 30.

    Two very strong sides. Advantage with the home side for being at home but Europe has the advantage of togetherness. Should all come down to the last singles match...Rory against Tiger and there is only one winner there.....WeeMac!

    Harrington didn't deserve a place although he has shown signs of making a comeback. European selection process deserves recognition, balancing promotion of the European Tour without shutting out the World players and the Capt. has his players to choose also.

    I would not like to be in DL3's shoes at the moment.....with Tiger and Phil in the same team again and neither playing near their top form, I would actually not play either of them the opening morning.....does he have the guts to do that? If he does, then that also frees him up with his choices because only Stricker and Furyk have been able to have some success playing with Tiger but they are very similar players and DL3 might want more variety and just pick one of them.

    Should be a belter!

    Bring it on!!

  • Comment number 31.

    @Jimmy.....I've got a few concerns about a few European players form. I don't think GMAC, Justin and maybe to a lesser extent Lee & Luke have been pulling up any trees lately. I think all four could do with a good run and qualify for the Tour Championship. As for Kaymer, well he could be a liability.
    The US team's got a few playing "out of sorts" as well so to speak, Phil's been struggling for a while, Tigers gone off the boil, Kuchar, Bubba & Webb as well!

  • Comment number 32.

    @25

    I know Darren Clarke won the Open in 2011, that was a total one-off. Sure he played well for those four days, and hasn't had a good day since, or for a while before those four days.

    I'm not a huge fan of Mcilroy but i recognise people like him are the future of golf. Not these 'old boys' who drift aimlessly through the year simply because their 'pedigree' entitles them to a spot on the tour.

    Lets watch the real golfers fight it out at this Ryder Cup rather than listen to the 'old boys' telling us their life stories.

  • Comment number 33.

    some of the Europe pairings jump out as natural others perhaps a little less so. I wouldn't be surprised to see Westwood / Lawrie combo in the foursomes, and with Kaymer's form as it is the experience of Westwood alongside might be required in the fourball. Then again if Kaymer doesn't show anyform in the next few weeks he might not get a run till the singles.

    How to pair Molinari / Hanson / Colsaerts (or is that rotate ?) with might come down to stone paper scissors.

  • Comment number 34.

    Although some players are not in the best of form the thing to remember is that its matchplay and you can have a bad hole or two and still win by making plenty of Birdies so its not like you have to be as consistent as in stroke play. Also remember playing with a partner helps take some pressure away.

  • Comment number 35.

    Ah Mr Carter,
    Still being carried away on the glorious Olympic aftermath eh ? Not that it did the cricketers any good or,one suspects, Andy Murray's chances in the Flushing Meadow If hard practicality counts for anything, you may be interested to note that not a single bookmaker on either side of the Atlantic is offering other than US odds on !

  • Comment number 36.

    #32

    Interesting 'comeback' response. Paul Lawrie isn't bad for an 'old boy'. I take your point about Darren, but history shows that at present he has achieved something that most of the rest of the team have not - winning a major!

    Anyway, let's move on. What's your scoreline prediction? I stand by my 15-13 in favour of Europe, particular now that Poulter is in the team. He is there for more than his golf - he will inspire, lead, cajole and give each of his colleagues a 'determination' and 'confidence' injection, whenever he needs to.

    I'm sure that DLIII knows full well that he's got himself a ball game!

  • Comment number 37.

    DL3 has such a tough challenge in making his 4 wild cards. Assuming we narrow the choices down to Dustin, Watney, Furyk, Stricker, Snedeker, Van Pelt, Fowler and Mahan, somehow 3 of those guys miss out.

    By Watney's own standards, not the best of seasons for him, but a win yesterday puts him top of the fed ex cup, hard to look past him. Stricker, a steady player all round and one of the best putters in the game. Fowler did well in the last ryder cup and won this year at Wells Fargo. Despite injury, Johnson has done well with a win and a top 3 yesterday moving him well up the fed ex cup standings. Snedeker contended at the Open and then a 2nd yesterday as well moves him into contention, but lack of experience in Ryder Cup will possibly be his downfall. Furyk contended at the U.S open and at Bridgestone and regained some form this year big time, a Ryder Cup veteran as well, and potential partner for Woods, definitely hard to look past Furyk. Mahan won the Matchplay earlier this year and is as solid as anyone, he will surely get a pick, especially as he will be after some revenge for personal reasons, after the infamous fluffed chip last time around. He just missed automatic qualification also. Van Pelt could catch the eye of DL3 with a performance next week, he's had his share of top 10s and did well at the PGA.

    This week will be a huge factor for DL3, the names mentioned will all be trying to force the issue and play their way into selection, i wish them all the best!

  • Comment number 38.

    Well that was predictable, wasn't it? Iain calls it 'straightforward' in his piece, but there was little to get excited about once it became clear Colesarts was not going to kock Kaymer out of the auotmatic slots. There was no repeat of 2010, with Eduardo Molrinari putting a huge spanner in the works at the last minute, nor the three-into-two situation regarding the Captain's picks. Perhaps that's a good thing.

    I have expressed concerns about Kaymer's form on these pages in the last few weeks, and the fact that he didn't feel up to playing Gleneagles at all is puzzling, but the simple truth is that he made enough points to get on the team and other players (for that, read 'Harrington') did not. If Martin's still in the team despite being out of form, that's probably a reflection that Europe doesn't really have anyone better availible.

    I also agree with Peter @ #25, there had been a hint of 'The Old Boys Club' about RC selection in 210, and it's good to see that being blow away a little. I have a feeling that Harrington was only selected in 2010 because both Montgomerie and two of his VCs (McGinley & Clarke) were friends with him. Glad to see that chicken came home to roost in the end.

    I can't really complain about the selection for Europe but make no mistake, this will be tough. I've been watching the Ryder Cup since the 1991 edition, and I'm struggling to think of the USA fielding a stronger team in that period (1999 may run it close, though). One only needs to look at what's been going on on the PGA Tour from Firestone onwards to see the quility of some the American players who have not made the team as of right, with Nick Watney the latest to put his hand up, plus high finishes for Brandt Snedker and Dustin Johnson. This strength, combined with some boisterous home support, will make the Americans a formidable outfit. Europe will need to be at the top of their game to have even a chance.

  • Comment number 39.

    i am from the uk but i reside in the states , and watch live on tv on a weekly basis all the USPG tour events
    they have some awesome talent it wont be easy and all 12 european players will have to hit form , i cannot see the europeans winning many singles matches

  • Comment number 40.

    Hurray! 40th comment.

  • Comment number 41.

    At #39 - am also an expat and live on CA central coast - there's awsome talent on both sides. As others have noted two of the US greats are in much less than their best form, and TW does not have a great RC record. How Phil M will play is anyone's guess. The rest will be ok or better. The Europeans are narrow favourites in my view, not least because they are team players. Our men are individualists - perhaps why the singles matches favour us a bit. It should be a great contest on a splendid course. Sergio is rounding into ominously dangerous form, which will offset Kaymer's happy (for us) tendency to love left field off the tee... People have expressed reservations about Colsaerts but he looks a very fine player. If his putter gets hot he'll be a very valuable member of their team.

  • Comment number 42.

    @36

    My prediction is for Europe to win 16.5-11.5, to avenge our defeat four years ago.

    Europe have players in better form than America (excluding Kaymer.) And most of them are well suited to the Ryder Cup, Garcia, GMac Poulter etc. are the type of characters who relish this sort of competition.

    This American team isn't suited for the RC, too many individual personalities who aren't team players. Their best player Woods only turns up for the sake of sponsorship, their second best player Mickelson looks clueless outside Augusta these days. Many of their other players are farly average.

    It's going to be Europe all the way. :D

  • Comment number 43.

    Geddin the Hole! All the way USA !

  • Comment number 44.

    Fortunes have definitely swung Europe's way in the last few weeks.

    A number of them coming back into form - McIlroy, Garcia, Lawrie, Poulter, Westie and Donald usualy perform well.

    A number of the US top 8 have drifted out of form - Simpson, Kuchar, Mickelson and Woods is very erratic.

    US should be able to pick a form 4 though and for that reason I cant see how Mahan will get picked unless he does well this weekend. If one of Watney, Dustin or Snedeker have another big weekend, they will get in.

    It does look like 2 very high quality teams though and let's hope it is captivating viewing as always, though I hope Mont gets a new tee shirt, the one he is using just now in the advert with Butch Harmon looks a tad tight !

  • Comment number 45.

    Matt - These out of Form Euros to whom you refer. Is that the same Donald and Westwood who gained top 10 finishes this week, the same Justin Rose who finished top 3 at the US PGA and G-mac who has finished well in every event he's played since the US Open with the exception of the Barclays. You have very high standards if they are causing you to worry.

    Anyone remember Lee Westwood at the 2002 Ryder Cup, he had no right to be there other than that the team was picked a year in advance due to the 9/11 tragedy, was so out of sorts that it was embarrassing, and yet rallied phenomenally with a performance that seemed to turn around his whole career. Its a long shot but you never know, the RC could do that for Kaymer.

  • Comment number 46.

    Jimmy....You don't get my point. What are top 10 finishes all about, c'mon, Luke done his usual, make the cut and he's happy, they were never involved, they both got up the leaderboard when they had no pressure. I mean you're no fool, but you've got to understand that these are (supposedly) the best 2 English golfers in the world. The sad fact is they're never in contention to win a big event. And that is undisputed!!

  • Comment number 47.

    I'm disappointed that Poulter, or Kaymer, for that matter, did not feel compelled enough to front up at Gleneagles at the weekend. It would have really demonstrated commitment to the team cause and probably, in Poulter's case, obtained automatic selection.
    JMO would have been able to gauge where Kaymer is at in terms of his game and would have ended up having a genuine wildcard pick in his hand.
    He may well have used it on Kaymer (unlikely), or perhaps taken one of the current form players from the European Tour, outside of the top 15 or so, or extended an invite to Martin Laird as an example.

    The two wildcard picks were inevitable, thanks to IJP decision not to play in Scotland. A little more flexibility on his part could have presented JMO a real option for a 'Fowler' type selection.

    At least Colsaerts tried to get an automatic selection; which, ironically, he would have received under the previous selection criteria.

  • Comment number 48.

    Don't see how Davis Love's picks are going to hurt the team when you look at who he has to pick from. Say this pretty much every RC since the heyday of Seve and Faldo, on paper the US team looks stronger and deeper. But every RC the Euros find a way to challenge and surprise. The temperature at Medina should be super hot, even if the thermometer says something different. Can't wait.

  • Comment number 49.

    Comment #49! Beat that, GB!

  • Comment number 50.

    "43.At 22:39 27th Aug 2012, maxmerit wrote:
    Geddin the Hole! All the way USA !"

    Now THAT is a splendid post! Well, the first part is anyway. Even spelt it right

  • Comment number 51.

    I'm just going to raise my blade to my adoring public, to celebrate the half century, then I will make a serious post.

    Re 44 and others, I thought fortunes had swung to the US a week or two back, with Westwood and Kaymer seemingingly off form (esp Westwood's confession that his game was off before the Open). But I agree now that a few US players, notably Woods, don't seem on form.

    The other thing, as Jimmy alludes to, is that form going into the Ryder Cup is not an especially reliable indicator of how someone will play at the event. Westwood in 2002 is a good example but I'm sure there are others.

    If you compare the teams 'on paper' (and there aren;'t many other scientific ways of doing it at this stage) then it looks even ish, with possibly a slight advantage to the US. But you only have to look at some of the past results to know that 'on paper' means very little. Woods losing to Rocca in 97, Mickleson losing to Price in 2002, and believe it or not David Feherty beating the late Payne Stewart in 1991

  • Comment number 52.

    who's everybodys favourite Ryder Cup player past/present ?

  • Comment number 53.

    Two strong-looking teams: I think USA will win but it should be a great contest.

    Re Poulter: I find all this stuff about his 'passion' for the Ryder Cup a bit yucky. All the players get super-motivated for this event, it's just that Poulter makes sure everyone knows how 'passionate' he is. Keeps telling us. It's personal PR, that's all. And rather phoney. He's actually no more up-for-it than anyone else (rather less than many, I suspect). Having said that, an excellent RC record and a slam-dunk pick.

  • Comment number 54.

    @umpteenth_time_user save 606 your comment no 3 is without doubt a ridiculous comment as the Ryder Cup has to mentioned two months before the event to find out who will make the Team and who will be the wildcard picks. Comment 42 make perfect sense for a change. On paper Europe should win.

  • Comment number 55.

    I think i must have missed the point Matt, and to be fair i'm still missing it, I dont really understand what any of that has to do with the Ryder Cup if i'm being honest. I also fairly wholeheartedly disagree with your post but thats not so much a case of me missing the point as me disputing the apparently indisputable.

    Frazer, whilst you and I are of a like mind in so far as form isnt perhaps a direct indicator of how someone will perform, (See again Lee 2002 or Tiger pretty much every time he plays RC) i'd suggest possibly its an indirect factor. Confidence is, I reckon, a key to being able to stand up under pressure and stripe the ball exactly where you want it and is linked fairly closely to form. However it only takes one good or band shot to totally undermine it, or send it rocketing.

  • Comment number 56.

    #46 Matt
    I'm missing your point too, Matt. Surely top-ten finishes indicate a general level of form. Being the actual winner of a strokeplay tournament is largely irrelevant when you're talking about a matchplay event where the only issue is to do better than the player (or pair) you're playing against, rather than a field of 156 (or whatever).

    #52 manina
    It has to be Seve from the past of course, and I'd go for Westwood now. I'd like to give Mark Calcavecchia an honourable mention for his hilarious meltdown in 1991 though!

  • Comment number 57.

    #47 - agreed. Given how passionate Poults is when it comes to the RC why didn't he play at Gleneagles where a top 35 place would guarantee his place? The captain then could pick his second wildcard. As it is, Poults made that decision for him. Shame.

  • Comment number 58.

    #46 - so rather than constantly be a top 10 player (in a competition contested by 24 players) you'd rather have a Watney? Absent from the top 40 all year and then comes out of the woodwork with a streaky win?? Another mastercard moment...priceless!

  • Comment number 59.

    My favourite player in the RC has to be Seve. Transformed the event as a player and captain.
    Must also mention Monty, no one has played and captained with more passion than him.
    Favourite memory of the RC was Monty sinking the winning putt in 2004.
    Special mention though must go to Boo Weekly in 2008 riding the cowboy horse from the tee.

  • Comment number 60.

    55 - Jimmy, agreed re confidence. But you lose 10 points for illegal use of a poster's real name.

    Obviously, lack of form is not TOTALLY irrelevant. Didn't Sandy Lyle withdraw one year? He certainly threatened to. I remember in 99 O'Meara had been a double majro champion the previous season, but couldn't hit a barn door at 10 paces in the RC. He really struggled, but to give him credit he still ran Harrington close in the singles.

    But as you say Jimmy, a lot of it is confidence and one good round or even a good shot can help restore that. Or sometimes something on the range will 'click' and suddenly you're playing well again

  • Comment number 61.

    I don't have a single fave RC player, but amongst my fave players and moments:

    Torrance crying (MK I and MK II)
    Phil Price going bonkers for 5 seconds when he finally beat Mickleson
    Calc’s meltdown
    Effort by Torrance and Strange to repair the damage done in 99 by conducting themselves in a manner befitting the RC
    Faldo getting up and down from 90 yards to defeat Strange in 95
    Christy O’Connor’s 2 iron in 89 vs Couples
    Canizares beating Green (?) in 99
    Mahan flubbed chip last time (sorry Hunter!)

    Worst moments:
    Notorious green invasion at Brookline in 99
    Numerous subsequent attempts by US players / commentators to play it down and deny that anything wrong was done.
    Cory Pavin amongst others acting like a hooligan in 91
    Hale Irwin’s drive on 18 in 1991 that went 50 yards off line and appeared on the edge of the fairway
    Subsequent attempt by various pro – US protagonists to concoct a story that it hit someone hard in the back, that she had a welt there for weeks, and that the ball rebounded 50 yards off her to the edge of the fairway
    David Duval’s loutish celebration after the singles in 99
    Paul Azinger’s octupral high five after holing a bunker shot to halve Fasth in 2002
    Paul Azinger’s call for the 13th man
    Paul Azinger in general

  • Comment number 62.

    Manina Favourite two players in Ryder cup of recent times Poulter and Gmac.

  • Comment number 63.

    #47

    I'm a great Poulter fan, but you do make an interesting point. I guess the difference is that Poulter is moving through the gears on his way to a fantastic peak for the RC and therefore felt a degree of confidence (not complacency) that he would stand a very good chance of being picked. Kaymer, on the other hand, has been in neutral for most of the season and he possibly should have committed himself to the Johnnie Walker, which would have at least showed intent. It would have been interesting for JMO if Colsaerts had achieved at least a top 2 finish - would he have still picked Kaymer or given RC-B a chance (a fellow spaniard). It was intrigued to digest Iain Carter's comments regarding JMO putting someone on standby if Kaymer's form does not improve. Did I miss something, or is it still possible for someone in the team to be given the 'Dear John' prior to the event?

    #53

    For passion read 'fiery determination'. I'm sure you are right about all the team having passion, but somehow Poulter demonstrates that extra little bit of spark, which definitely inspires others.

  • Comment number 64.

    good to see Tucker made the team in the end

  • Comment number 65.

    #63 - JMO was asked at the press conference yesterday did he have someone on standby in case Kaymer withdrew. JMO said he had spoken to Kaymer who had been working hard on his game for the last few weeks and had no intention to step aside.
    Had Poults played last week, maybe these questions could have been avoided. I'm sure he'd been given the nod, but had he qualified by rights then maybe RCB would be looking forward to the boarding the plane to Chicago...

  • Comment number 66.

    If the situation arises, that Kaymer flops in these next 2 tournaments he is playing, one would expect his withdrawal from the side.

  • Comment number 67.

    TheRealJimmy. Picks for this week are.
    Europe
    Siem
    Wiesberger
    Dyson

    USA
    Snedeker
    Donald
    westwood.

    I thank you

  • Comment number 68.

    Blimey whcihis Your early out of the blocks feeling confident??

  • Comment number 69.

    @therealjimmy

    It would be nice to see who scored points this week,and if daveyboy is still uncatchable
    P.s That means can we have the results and latest table please

  • Comment number 70.

    Manina I got 5 points this week for Snedeker but that was it all my euro picks were in the top 10 with Gallacher and Molinari just outside the top 3.

  • Comment number 71.

    #65

    I have the feeling that you may have hit the nail on the head there. Let's see if Kaymer can deliver during the next couple of tournaments - I can't imagine anyone being willing to relinquish a RC spot. Apart from winning a major, it has to be the pinnacle of one's career.

  • Comment number 72.

    I can see not picking Harrington coming back to haunt Olly.

    Lets look at history when the wild card selection was down to an experienced player and a inexperienced players but who is playing better.

    1995: Gallacher picked Seve as his wild card even thou he was playing the worst golf of his career...what happened...he played crap...but inspired his team to victory.

    2008: Faldo had to pick between Monty and Paul Casey....he went with Casey...the team was missing a leader and they lost miserably.

    2010: Monty had to pick between Harrington and other players ahead of him on the list playing better...he went with experience...what happened....the team won and played better as a team because of Harrington on it.

    Colsaerts will bring nothing to the team, might win a point if he has a good partner but will bring no inspiration to his playing partners.

    Big mistake Olly!Have you fallen down the Faldo trap.

  • Comment number 73.

    @72 jamesmathew as usual looking on the bright side of life. Idiot.

  • Comment number 74.

    #71 - the unpredictibility of the Ryder Cup is what makes it so exciting and unlikely heroes step forward - Paul Way, Baker, Darcy, Price etc etc. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Kaymer deliver when it matters most. I just hope JMO rotates his players - its not so much the physical demands of 5 rounds in 3 days as the mental exhaustion that is tough to deal with.

  • Comment number 75.

    #72 - I know I shouldn't rise to the bait but..... In 2008 Paddy delivered half a point from 4 matches and in 2010 2 points from 4 because Fisher didn't miss from 15 feet.
    Yeah, we bound to lose with him not in the team - D'OH!

  • Comment number 76.

    therealjimmy

    My picks for this week are :

    Deutshe Bank

    Rory McIlroy
    Louis Oosthuizen
    Adam Scott

    Eoropean Masters

    Peter Hanson
    Thorbjorn Oleson
    Marcel Siem

  • Comment number 77.

    @lordV

    Don't worry school starts again next week :-)

  • Comment number 78.

    I sincerely hope that the European team does not wear feminine pink this time round, it has been such a visual embarrassment in past years, that it has brought ridicule upon the game.

  • Comment number 79.

    #75 Seve also delivered only 1 point in 1995 but it was his presence that helped Europe win.

    In 2008 it was the lack of Montys presence that helps us lose.

    Truly great players bring more to a team then winning points, they inspire others.

    Last ryder cup if you ask most people who was most instrumental on the team...Poulter or Harrington...majority would agree with Harrington.

    Poulter can only win 5 points...Harrington can inspire 20 points. That's the difference...one is a loner...one is a team player. Poulter doesn't care if Europe win or lose...he cares if he wins or loses.

  • Comment number 80.

    If Europe do not retain the cup then there be something seriously wrong. US are very poor with to many of their players being inconsistent or just out of form. This includes Woods (still the best player in world but only 50% of the player he was) and Mickleson.

    Europe should win by a landslide.

  • Comment number 81.

    Obvious picks by Olazabal. Harrington isn't the player he was and couldn't justify being picked above Poulter or Coulsarts. Really interested in what DL111 does with the 4 US picks. I think he might go with Stricker, Furyk, Fowler & Watney leaving out Mahan, Snedeker & Dustin Johnson although what happens this week may change things. Anyone agree?

  • Comment number 82.

    sagamix @53;
    You've clearly never been to a RC when Poults has been playing. To say that man has the same enthusiasm as everyone else on the team is absolute nonsense. He is way more than a golfer that week, he's the heart and soul of the team. When you see how much it means to him to stick it to the US it gets the whole crowd going and is infectious for the other players. You only had to look at Ross Fisher in Celtic Manor to see how it rubbed off, a normally quiet man who goes about his business was suddenly high fiving, fist pumping and more importantly winning! Poults gets it, and he gets it because he likes nothing more than beating the other side because of who they are. Sure there are others who get fired up and yes it means a great deal to everyone but he just gets that little more excited because he loves it.

    As for Kaymer, he was no good at Celtic Manor when everyone was hailing him as the next big thing. He was subdued and devoid of personality to the extent that the first tee crowd couldn't even come up with a song for him. This wouldn't matter if his golf delivered, but it didn't, is hasn't since and he has no real feeling for the RC so it won't magically come back in Medina.

    Colsaerts is a strange one. There's no doubt he's a decent player and he can play match play but he seems a very odd character. He was verging on arrogance when asked about his pick both after the final round at Gleneagles and also in the presser y'day. He isn't going to add much to the team in my opinion. While Paddy probably doesn't deserve a pick on form, he would be a better team member.

    I would also love to see Sergio and Poulter together at some point, they would get right in the faces of the Americans and shut the crowd up.

  • Comment number 83.

    #79 - of course, you're right. Paddy even more influencial than Seve. Monty was on the slide by 2008 but now you mention it - it's obvious why we lost - can't believe I didn't work that out myself. Despite the feelings voiced on this site supporting Poulter as a pick again you're right. After all who wants a player who can only deliver 5 points and not inspire 20.
    I'll e mail George O Grady immediately - I take it you'll be free in 2014 to lead the team to glory in Gleneagles??

  • Comment number 84.

    Mr Suitcase

    This update you are after, i presume you want one like I do every single week (With the exception of last week because there was nothing to update you all on) It'll be delivered either this evening or tomorrow evening.

    I think its a forlorn hope to expect Kaymer to withdraw, and whilst his slump has been a worryingly long one his hot streak was too long for it to have been a fluke, he is (or at least was) quality and i'm sure he'll get his mojo back eventually.

  • Comment number 85.

    @jamesmathew, would you say Westwood, Donald and Rose are the 3 weak links in team Europe?

  • Comment number 86.

    #79 JamesMatthew - please james, that's a terrible arguement. I'm a supporter of Paddy but definitely think the last Ryder Cup was one too many for him as a player and if the rest of the guys need him for inspiration then pity help us as USA will win by a record margin.
    Europe have, in their captain, a man who came back from the depths to win his second Masters Tournament and who has no right to be playing now due to the arthritic condition he suffers from. What more do you want for inspiration?

  • Comment number 87.

    #86 Olly will be one of the most inspirational captains of all time. probably only piped by Seve. However who have we on the course that is a leader?

    Westwood is a loner...he's not a team player.
    Poulter is an amazing individual and will prob get 4/5 points but he's not a leader.
    Donald...too quiet, Rory too young, Garcia...too young, GMac…don't think so.

    Monty was our captain on the course for the last 10+ years. Now we have no one. Harrington with 3 majors to prove he knows how to win would have been the right person to have on that team to add balance and leadership on the course.

  • Comment number 88.

    #86 - you raise an interesting issue about the role of the captain. I've no doubt JMO will be inspirational, but what about Davis. He has a fine line to tread. No doubt he'll want the full support of the home fans, but what if it crosses the line. Sergio seemed to take some stick on Sunday with cries of "mashed potato" during his backswing. Love III seems a good bloke, steeped in the traditions of the game and the RC...but then I thought the same of Crenshaw. I guess if you're getting hammered principles can get left behind...

  • Comment number 89.

    #87 jamesmathew
    James, I can't help feeling you're "bigging up" the role of "captain on the course". Surely any player should be concentrating on his particular match and relationship with his partner, not worrying about what else is going on. JMO and his vice captains can see to that, especially with their recent Ryder Cup playing experiences.

    I'm not sure why you're focussing on PH for this role (whether it is necessary or not) and your dismissals of Westwood/Poulter/Donald/Garcia/McDowell seem rather perfunctory (possibly agree with you about McIlroy at the moment).

  • Comment number 90.

    #89 I dont mean to dismiss any of those players they are all amazing and maybe on text its coming across a lot worse then it is. My main point was just that I believe PH would have added a lot more to the team than a player who has 1 top 10 in a major, 2 wins in Europe and zero wins in the US. I just think Harry is playing well enough to have been picked. He has shown some amazing form at certain times this year albeit not very consistant but he is a big game player.

    Anyways enough of that...im sure Nicolas Colsaerts will do fine.

    Would anyone like to see Rory and Garcia play the 4 ball together?
    I think that would be amazing...two young lads going crazy with birdies.

  • Comment number 91.

    #90 jamesmathew
    James, I didn't mean to suggest you had any criticism of thenm as players, it just appeared that you suggest they may have fewer leadership credentials than Harrington - and I'm not sure I agree with that.

    I'm sure Garcia would be flattered to be called a "young lad". OK, he's in the younger half of the team, but he is 32, older than Molinari, Rose, Colsaearts, Kaymer and (of course) McIlroy.

  • Comment number 92.

    #91 LOL....your dead right...I just always see Garcia as a 21 year old running around the course jumping. He has more life and soul in him them most of the guys younger then him. I think his personality would suit McIlroys and a fourball with those two would be amazing.

    Whats the bets that Westwood will be putting like God in this ryder cup as well? Kinda like Monty back in the day...Westwood always seems to find his putter come RC.

  • Comment number 93.

    Last time we had by far the strongest team, home advantage and even distinctly british weather. Yet we still almost managed to lose it.

    How Monty got praised for almost blowing that is beyond me frankly.

  • Comment number 94.

    #74 3puttpete.

    I suspect that JMO will rotate all 12 players during the 16 foursomes/fourballs, probably giving NC at least 2 matches so he can cut his teeth prior to the singles

    #83 3puttpete

    Dry and subtle response. I love it!

    #82 nahbs

    Right on!

  • Comment number 95.

    #95 - thankfully I can't see JMO doing a Mark James! I dont get all this talk of which team is strongest on paper. Hopefully we'll see remarkable drama, a very close match that is decided by a chip in here or a 3 foot horseshoe there. The one thing for certain, is that every single player will sweat blood'n'tears to try and get the win. What more can we ask from them?

  • Comment number 96.

    Harrington's RC record is dismal, Colsaerts is one of the most improved players on tour this year and is an easy pick ahead of him. Anyone who was able to shoot two rounds of 65 at Lytham is going to be a tough customer in matchplay, plus his length will be useful at Medinah. He looks a natural selection for the 4balls as our 4somes line up looks very strong.

  • Comment number 97.

    Just joined this blog so don't know if it's been covered but I don't think Poulter did the team any favours. If he had played in Scotland and finished in the top 35 (surely he would have managed that) then Kaymer would have been out and JMO could have picked Harrington with all his experience and recent good form. I think this would have been a stronger team

  • Comment number 98.

    replying to yourself there Pete?

    The on paper thing doesnt make much of a difference like you say. You should see some of the World Rankings of the 2002 team, there are guys in the low 80's and even mid 100's in the rankings, and yet they still managed to win, the standard has improved vastly.

  • Comment number 99.

    Among the favorite moments have to be the reception Darren Clarke got onto the first tee following all his personal problems. Never heard a golf crowd sound like a full football stadium!

    But most of all Monty and Padraig up against the 'Dream Team' of Woods and Mikelson in 2004. Unbeatable apparently! Promptly got their backsides handed back to them - surely the moment Monty sealed is RC lengend status!

    Can't wait!

  • Comment number 100.

    @MWS....come the last hole...and Colsaert needs a par on a tough 18th to win a vital point....what has he to draw from in the past that will tell him "I did this before I can do it again"

    His 2 rounds at Lytham when he was no where near the lead? And after his first round of 65 the pressure was too much and followed it with a 77.

    Not to take away from a much improved player but his pick seems almost out of pity just to say well done for keeping in there and your 1 significant career win.
    I think the poor guy could fall apart under the RC pressure.

 

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