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Faldo kicks off silly season

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Rob Hodgetts | 22:33 UK time, Monday, 1 September 2008

Nick Faldo's first real machinations as European Ryder Cup captain have sparked outrage, incredulity, even fury.

And some people disagreed with him. The debate that has accompanied his wildcard picks of Ian Poulter and to a lesser extent Paul Casey marks the beginning of two weeks of feverish pontificating, speculating and ruminating before the competition kicks off at Valhalla on 19 September.

Faldo has taken some stick for his choice of the colourful Poulter over the more experienced and in-form Darren Clarke, or the eight-time Cup legend but fading force Colin Montgomerie.

And it's not just his picks that have caused consternation. The manner of Faldo during his news conference has riled plenty of you, though the six-time major champion has always polarised opinion.

His Del Boy impression from Only Fools and Horses didn't endear him to some. Apparently he phoned his friend Poulter and said, "Oi, Raquel, put your overcoat on. It's time to go to the Ryder Cup."

Then there was his call to Montgomerie to break the bad news. There was no reply, probably because Monty was "watching football or shopping", according to Faldo. Ouch.

Some feel he was less than expansive with his answers to the questions fired at him by the assembled golfing media, such as what more did Clarke need to do to make the team.

But before we all get our niblicks in a twist, it's worth remembering that we always get this sort of hoo-ha in the weeks before the Ryder Cup.

Remember Ian Woosnam around the time of his picks? Ignoring his actual selections (Clarke and Lee Westwood) there was plenty of debate about how he handled himself.

Thomas Bjorn, who was overlooked for Westwood, labelled Woosnam "pathetic", and moaned that the Welshman hadn't communicated with the players. Us observers worried about Woosie's man-management and general PR skills.

But, ultimately, none of it mattered. His team won a handsome victory and the Little Fella got through it OK in his own sort of way - apart from snotting champagne bubbles out of his nose during the balcony celebrations at the end.

The debate about Faldo's picks is raging elsewhere on these pages (Iain Carter's blog and 606).

As for Monty, it's a moot point now as to whether or not he would have been a good selection. We'll never know.

Life moves on, eras end and there will always be new heroes. But I would have had to think very long and very hard before leaving him out.

Clearly his form hasn't been great, which is one of the reasons why he wasn't picked (there are others of course, to do with his relationship with Faldo). But strokeplay is a completely different kettle of ball games to matchplay.

And Montgomerie has proved over the years that in Ryder Cup terms he is worth far more than the sum of his tournament results in the qualifying year.

He is unbeaten in eight singles matches, and, anyway, he would have had the luxury of a partner to help out if he really was struggling.

His poor form meant he needed a wildcard before, of course, from Bernhard Langer at Oakland Hills in 2004. And he ended up sinking the winning putt. If we thought then that this was the finale to his story we were wrong, as we discovered two years ago.

I was privileged to be at the K Club, and two things struck me about Montgomerie.

The first, after attending plenty of team news conferences, is that I got the impression that some members of the team regarded him as a slightly odd older brother. But there was absolutely no doubt that they all looked up to him as the bedrock of the side and wouldn't have traded him for anyone.

Second, was the emotion and collective feeling towards him from the massed ranks of fans as Montgomerie led Europe off in the singles on Sunday morning.

Before the off, I watched Monty bashing balls on the range in the pouring rain before following him to the putting green.

After 10 minutes or so, he gave a quick nod to his caddie and set off towards the 1st tee. The extraordinary roar that built as he walked the 100 yards was like a freight train booming up from deep underground before thundering onto the tee.

Monty has his detractors, but there's no doubt the whole of Europe was behind the big man at that point and the responsibility he shouldered for his team was huge.

Out and about in Dublin much later that night, whole pubs were still chanting his name. Not Clarke's or Harrington's or even Sergio's.

Dipping back into his autobiography, one incident summed up just how much Monty has given to the European Ryder Cup cause. It's not here as a plea for his inclusion, just as an interesting aside.

Playing against the late Payne Stewart in the singles, Monty was receiving plenty of barracking, but on one shot all was quiet until he got to the top of his backswing.

Then some clown shouted out a four-letter word. The worst one. The idiot was ejected and Montgomerie turned to the crowd and said, "First to go. If anyone else says that they'll go as well".

"My legs were now shaking," he writes.

He goes on to say that the abuse "sickened Payne only slightly less than it sickened my father. In Dad's eyes it was as if the very game had been defiled. I looked for him after the incident but he had walked back to the clubhouse, his lifelong love of the game having taken an irreparable blow."

Of course, Montgomerie, who won by one hole, has been heckled plenty of times over his career.

But should Valhalla return to somewhere nearer the Brookline levels of "excitement" in 1999, rather than the polite, chummy events of recent times - and with Faldo and Paul Azinger in charge you never know - you wonder whether Montgomerie's (or Clarke's for that matter) experience might not come in handy.

Will the prickly Poulter, for instance, be able to keep his head?

It will be interesting to gauge the atmosphere around the team without either of these two heavyweights in the first couple of days in Valhalla, and I shall of course report back.

Suffice to say that driving into Southport for the Open at Royal Birkdale, and being confronted by marketing pictures of Tiger Woods, my heart sank for a while knowing he wouldn't be there. But we all got over that pretty quickly. As we will with Montgomerie and Clarke's absence in Kentucky.

So, the game is fully on now. We've witnessed Faldo's opening act and drawn our own instant conclusions. We've argued about the team and we'll do the same with the US side.

In the next couple of weeks we'll get caught up in big debates on pairings or suchlike, on shirt/trouser combos and on the uniforms of the wives. And all along we'll discuss the outcome of the match.

There will be myriad more talking points and we'll all be convinced our opinions are right.

And all for a game of golf. But that's why we love the Ryder Cup.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Two things occur to me.

    1) Faldo's "poor" relationship with other players is really only with his generation. Since his hay-day he has done a lot to help the development of our young players (e.g. Dougherty) which probably explains him picking younger players.

    2) Your comment "but strokeplay is a completely different kettle of ball games to matchplay" raised an interesting debate for me. Should the Ryder Cup qualifiction be based on money/points or on more matchplay characteristics like, for example, number of birdies/eagles scored?

    3) The real limiting factor for Faldo, I think, is the number of captain's picks there are for Europe. If I recall correctly we changed from 3 or 4 to 2 a few years back to align with the US system. Now Azinger has 4 picks to our 2. I think this is an advantage for the US and I think we should return to 3.

    4) If I had been Faldo I would have chosen Clarke (for a number of reasons), but certainly not Montgomerie - his form is way too inconsistent at the moment. For my other pick I would have chosen Casey rather than Poulter as I just think he's the better player (and long off the tee which is very useful in the Ryder Cup four balls).

    5) I think it's about time the format of the Ryder Cup was changed. The competition should be 4 days long not 3 days, with 6 fourballs on each of the first 2 days, 4 greensomes and 4 foursomes on the Saturday and 12 singles on the Sunday. So 4 more points on offer, all players get to play at least 3 times, and more golf to watch.

  • Comment number 2.

    The exclusion of Monty and Darren may bring about a significant change to the European Ryder Cup team dynamics, not only this year but in following years to come.

    Monty has been looked up to by so many of the team for so long that some, who you could argue should be more influential, have been able to sit back and stay quiet.

    Surely now is the time for the like of Harrington, a player now with three major titles to his name, to step forward and take over Monty’s role? Or Lee Westwood, one of Europe’s most consistent players this year, and not forgetting Sergio, seemingly just a final back nine from winning every tournament he enters.

    Although I’m sure Darren will be back in full flow for 2010 I’m less sure Monty will be and in truth we all have to accept that at some point the Monty dynasty has to come to an end, at least until 2014 when I’m sure he’ll play a major role in the matches held at Gleneagles

  • Comment number 3.

    Why is everyone desperate for Clarke to be in the team - nothing more than sentiment.

    Poulter is the better choice - the facts speak for themselves:

    Poulter has played better in the majors
    Poulter has a much higher world ranking
    Poulter has played by far the more consistent golf

    Why doesnt everyone get off his back and give him some support - we want him to play great golf at the cup - how will he do that if he's worryin about what everyone is saying?

  • Comment number 4.

    Omitting Clarke is bad mistake by Faldo. Likewise with Monty.

    In other sports, notably rugby and before it soccer, the concept of the "super sub" or the "impact sub" is well established why not golf?

    While Clarke should be there on merit, wouldn't Monty be the ideal impact sub? the man to call on to win that vital point. While his tour form has deteriorated, it's difficult not to conceive him rising to such an occasion.

    Secondly, this is a team event. Who do you think the Yanks would rather be facing on the first tee "prickly Poulter" or Big D with the cigar smoke curling from his lips or Monty on a charge.

    I'd say the Yanks are looking at what Faldo has done and already thinking they've put the first point on the scoreboard.

  • Comment number 5.

    It's the final day at Valhalla 08 and it's very close. Garcia and Harrington are in matches 4 and 5 ... they're both expected to win but Garcia is all square (vs Kim) as he stands on the 18th tee, and so is Harrington as he puts out on the 17th. Harrington holes his tricky 5 footer to remain levels with Furyk and he strides off to the final tee.

    Oh no, the Garcia Kim match hasn't tee'd off yet! A very awkward few minutes ensues as the players wait for the fairway to clear (Poulter went way right off the tee in match #3 and found an unplayable).

    It's Europe's honour (courtesy of a great Garcia birdie on 17) and Sergio struggles with his focus. He can see Padraig standing just a few yards away and the vibe is not positive. They've managed to avoid each other for the whole week but now it's gone badly wrong.

    Up ahead, Poulter tries to play his unplayable. He hacks at the ball a few times and then he picks up ... Curtis wins and it's a point to USA. Crucial now that Garcia and Harrington win through. Surely they will, won't they?

    Garcia addresses the ball, tries not think about Harrington, about how much the guy gets on his nerves. He regrips about a hundred times and then he swings and he hits ... oh god, it's a crooked one! ... it's a banana! ... he's followed Poulter into the bad stuff over on the right!

    With the pressure off a bit, Kim tonks it down the middle and it's another point for USA ... a bonus point, really. Captain Nick looks disgusted with Sergio. He can't understand what's just happened.

    Padraig can understand it though. He knows why Sergio has messed up and he feels like it's his fault. The awful sense of guilt is still there, 10 minutes later, as he sets up to launch his drive. The pressure he feels is tons worse than the last day of a major and he can't hold it together. His tee shot goes off almost at right angles! ... it's a complete shank!

    Jimmy F, inevitably, sends it down the short stuff and he pockets the point. He's beaten Europe's marque player and he knows (the whole American team knows) that the trophy is as good as won. As for Nick, he's a man in shock. He never, in a million years, had Padraig down as a shanker.

    An hour or so later and it's confirmed ... the final score is USA 16 Europe 12.

    Ah well, say a number of pundits, perhaps it's good that the Americans have won this time. A fair few other pundits say what a massive mistake by Faldo to send Poulter out third and to play Harrington and Garcia in adjoining matches ... a terrible captain all round, in fact, say a number of people.

    Thousand of miles away, a curly haired Scotsman is jubilant ... he turns off the TV and, despite his ample girth, he starts leaping and yelping around his lounge like a banshee.

  • Comment number 6.

    Sagamix - What a vivid and ultimately bizarre imagination you have!!

  • Comment number 7.

    Lutone- "Poulter has played more consistent golf" Absolute tosh mate.

    Poulter has had 2 top 10 finishes all year, hasn't won in 22 tourneys. Oh, what's he ever won?

    He's a journey man at best.

    Clarke on the other hand has class and is a proven winner.

    Why don't you just admit that Faldo picked his mate. Can Poulter take the pressure? Hasn't so far in his career.

  • Comment number 8.

    I wonder if Faldo will have the guts to put Casey and Poulter out together or will he be too scared to look the fool he obviously is by picking a player like Poulter who played in the nine highest scoring events in world golf and still failed misserably to qualify on merit for the team. I have even more respect for Clarke now the way he has handled this insult. Remember the way Faldo handled it when James rightfuly didn't give him a pick.

  • Comment number 9.

    picture this Poulter resurrecting the wrist injury he had at the US Open when he couldn't deal with the pressure of posting an an 18 handicappers score and withdrew.

  • Comment number 10.

    I'm a bit baffled by the chap who wrote:

    "Poulter has played better in the majors"
    "Poulter has a much higher world ranking"
    "Poulter has played by far the more consistent golf"

    Due to the untimely death of Clarke's wife he took most of last year off and plummeted down to 250th in the world.. And is now back in the top 60 within 1 year. Hence why he hasn't had the chance to play in any of the majors/WGC events.

    Poulter has 2 top 10s all year compared to Clarke's 7.. No wins compared to 2.

    And why do some people harp on about his 2nd placed finish in the open? From memory he didn't win, neither did he come close to winning. As they say 2nd place is first loser.

    Poulter is an self-hyped, egotistical, journeyman pro who has only played 1 Ryder Cup... And i worry for the dent in morale this may have done - Most of the players were expecting Clarke to get the nod, and i'm not sure most of them even like Poulter.

    p.s. Who on earth are USA going to pick as Wildcards?! They've extended it from 2 to 4 and now they haven't got anyone of any real quality to fill those 4 spaces!

  • Comment number 11.

    Clarke is a class player and has not seen his last Ryder Cup but do you know what, his putting has been so up and down recently I'm not sure it would be able to cope with the pressure!

    Don't get me wrong, I was expecting Clarke to be picked but Poulter's no bunny when it comes to match play! I don't understand why everyone assumes he's going to fail?!

  • Comment number 12.

    I'm pretty sure the powers that be knew the tough job ahead in defending in the USA.
    They picked Faldo as captain knowing that he was never the complete team man as people picture Monty or Clarke.
    They chose him because of his experience and toughness and he has shown those qualities in his picks. He knows he is on a hiding to nothing.
    They are all queuing up to hammer him if it goes wrong and he is strong enough to handle that. He is not of the cult of personality a la Jacklin.
    If he's right, we'll win, if not we'll lose.

  • Comment number 13.

    Darren Clarke summed it up extremely well when he said that he'd had the same chance to qualify as everyone else and that the fact that he hadn't qualified was down to him.

    This applies to Monty, Carl Petterson and others and the fact that, Clarke was honest enough to voice it, is greatly to his credit.

    It is Faldo's team and his responsibility alone to deliver a win for Europe. He should be entitled to select whoever he wants to achieve that goal. If they win, it will vindicate his decision, as it did with the exclusion of Thomas Bjorn last time. If they lose, then the responsibility lies with him.

    There is always controversy surrounding the captain's picks and this time is no different. The opinions of all who have been so quick to condemn Faldo's selections are ultimately irrelevant.

    Faldo clearly has a vision for the team and Poulter fits that vision. Whether that vision will lead to a victory, only time will tell.

  • Comment number 14.

    1. The fact that a player does well in stroke play tournaments when he is playing for nothing but himself and his personal wealth does not mean that he will do well in a matchplay situation where he is playing for no money and for the pride of the team only. It would thus be better if the team captain (ideally not Faldo) was able to make more personal picks, maybe even the whole team. The best players for the Ryder Cup are not necessarily those who do best when playing for themselves - Tiger is a prime illustration of this.

    2. Ian Poulter was a bad pick. He does not have the mentality for teamwork, only for self promotion. He won't ever win a major because he doesn't have what it takes in his head (this is also true of Monty), and I think this is also likely to be true when the pressure of contributing to a team is present. Darren Clarke would have been a much better pick, not for sentiment but because he has a head for the team competition situation.

    Of course if Europe wins then Faldo will have got it right. In this respect I might be unsympathetic to see the right players winning their matches but the team losing due to his decisions. At least then we would hopefully see the back of him. Olly would make a good captain. Sergio will in time. Paul McGinley may have a role to play. Guys with team spirit. Not self promoting types.

  • Comment number 15.

    BartonAlan - do me a favour and look at Faldo's Ryder Cup record before you start labelling him as a poor team person and as for Poulter hid did ok last time didn't he!?!

  • Comment number 16.

    If Europe win this time, and I very much hope that they do, it will be dispite the efforts of Faldo.

  • Comment number 17.

    There is a place for all types of people in this competition. Nick Faldo is the record points scorer in Ryder Cup history and yet no-one would describe him as a team player.

    I can't remember which captain replied, when asked, "What does Faldo bring to the team?", "Points".

    The points that he won were crucial in many of Europe's victories when we were not the favourites.

    Points win you matches.

    Faldo clearly thinks that Poulter will bring him points. We will see whether he is right soon enough.

  • Comment number 18.

    Good article Rob, spot on I think.

    Montgomerie's initial reaction to his
    omission seem respectful and Darren Clarke's comments were classy, characteristic of his distinguished career.

    Minor quibbles with the press over all this:

    *No comment anywhere about Carl Pettersson's reaction.

    *Parts of the US Press have pointed out the disingenuous nature of Ian Poulter's public utterances these past few weeks, but the British Press seem not to care to call him out on his porkies. He has helped himself (or Faldo) not one whit, and put unneeded pressure on his position in, and on, the team.

  • Comment number 19.

    Rob. With reference to your comments....

    "Then there was his call to Montgomerie to break the bad news. There was no reply, probably because Monty was "watching football or shopping", according to Faldo. Ouch."

    Given that Monty, whilst giving an interview, after his final round would be "heading off to watch the Chelsea/Spurs match and do some shopping or something", I think that it is less "Ouch" and more a statement of fact.

    Given your role, I assume, is to report the facts; you should really gather them all before you post a blog that seems to intentionally fan the flames of supposed discontent.

    Faldo's job is to pick the 2 wildcards, judge him after the Ryder Cup and get behind the team he has selected.

  • Comment number 20.

    I think it unfair that we feel the need to hold on to the past and not look towards the future as Faldo seems to be doing. Take a close look at the record of our England football team.

    I have watched Poulter for several years and disagree entirely that he is not able to deliver the goods either in the Ryder Cup or the majors.

    Darren Clarke is well capable of being in this team, but picking your team is a gamble for any Captain and I for one hope that Faldo has chosen correctly, not just to silence the pessimists, but to create a much broader and adaptable team Europe, that can continue to grow and knock the stuffing out of the yanks for many years to come.

    Change is not always good but we have many talented players in Europe and they need to have the experience that would be denied because of giving Wild Cards to past proven players rather than to the players who have yet to show their true capabilities and who have prevoius experience in playing in this stage.

    Well done Faldo for being brave enough to be controversial, I am sure Ian Poulter knows that he will not get another chance like this to prove the sceptics amongst us wrong.

  • Comment number 21.

    See the problem with your argument Lutone is that you haven't researched it. Clarke only played in one major this year and fair enough he didn't play brill but then nor did Poulter. Poulter had the opportunity of all the year's major tournaments to qualify for either list but still failed. He could have even gone to Gleneagles and done so but then again why would you if you know your in the team anyway. Clarke has a far better record than Poulter in his career and was running into form. I'm afraid if you actually watched your golf you might find out you are in fact full of crap

  • Comment number 22.

    number785 - Faldo's playing record does not make him captaincy material! That is contributing to the team, not leading it! And he had a much better mentality for the Ryder Cup situation as a player than Poulter does. But I don't remember him providing much support to other team members.

    I would like to be wrong, but I think I would say that of several other members of the team. If I could have 12 Sergios in the team I would. He has the right mentality, both competitively and as a leader and team player in supporting the others. Faldo and Monty, as well as Clarke and several others are good players in this situation but without the team leadership ability. But that does not go for all of this team.

    The system does not allow the ideal way to pick a winning team.

  • Comment number 23.

    Faldo has made his choices, it's his bed and he has got to lie in it.

    The rest of us will support the players during the competition just like we always have, shaping every drive and willing in every putt.

    The real test for Faldo now is getting the right partnerships together for the first 2 days. It is going to be marvelous, thrilling, nail-bitingly wonderful.... just like always!

    As for comebacks by Clarke and Monty next time, why not?

    As Darren said, they'll have exactly the same chance as everybody else; but as the likes of Faldo, Ballesteros, Langer, Woosnam, Torrance and many others had to realise, they all have a use-by-date.

  • Comment number 24.

    What's done is done. Wait until it starts now.

    After the event you can be wise about the Captain's Picks, for good or bad, but everything else is just hot air.

    (That doesn't include Monty, Darren or even Mr Faldo himself, if they'd like to respond here with some genuine detail..... somehow I don't think they will!)

  • Comment number 25.

    Not sure what all the fuss is. I'm pretty certain Faldo knows what he's doing. His man management skills will be tested but you never what sort of captain you will be until you try.

    As for people having a go at Poulter and Faldo about self promotion/only being out for themselves and how this doesn't make a team, I seem to recall virtually identical things being said about a certain Kevin Pietersen and that doesn't seem to have turned out too badly so far

  • Comment number 26.

    I was always a big fan of Faldo's in his playing days, his single mindedness was his trademark but in this case I'm sure in my own mind that he picked Poulter just to be controversial and show he was his own man. I think for the first time in two decades we will not play with the heart and team spirit we have become accustomed to. If we win it won't prove Faldo right anymore than a defeat will prove him wrong. What Faldo has done is made us more like the Americans and less like a team. Only a fool would say he hadn't given Poulter and Casey the nod and his fumbling in the press conference merely enforced that point and I'm sad to say he must already have gone down in his players eyes as they will not trust anything he says.

  • Comment number 27.

    HRDC99 -(your quote) "Faldo clearly thinks that Poulter will bring him points"

    The mystery to the majority of opinion is why Faldo thinks this? What is it that Poulter has achieved in this or any other year to support the pick?

    Can you help us with this?

  • Comment number 28.

    Lets face it, Faldo picked his mate and enjoys annoying people!

  • Comment number 29.

    I have to say that I agree entirely with everything BartonAlan has said. Both Monty and Clarke thrive on team play and pressure in the Ryder Cup. Totally agree about Poulter. He has ideas way beyond his station. He will probably win his match in the singles as Tiger always does but I cannot see him helping him out in the foursomes and fourballs.

    Experience and nerves of steel to cope with the "pressure cooker" atmosphere of the Ryder Cup count for everything. Just look at the way Clarke fought tooth and nail with Davis Love in the singles of the last Ryder Cup or Monty's titanic tussle with David Toms.

    I just hope Faldo makes a good captain. I remember the way he tore poor David Gilford's nerves to shreds all those years go in the foursomes. He was at the time the Tiger Woods of world golf. A brilliant individual, but he has never been the type of team player Monty, Garcia or Clarke have been.

    I also agree that there should be more than 2 picks. I sincerely hope I am proven wrong about Faldo's decision but I have a bad feeling about this Ryder Cup. Azinger was a steely competitor when he played and I can just see him transforming a Tiger-less side into winners. Let's hope for Europe's sake it doesn't happen!

  • Comment number 30.

    P.S. I also think we will really miss Luke Donald. His partnership with Garcia was crucial last time. Answers on a postcard as to who Garcia will play with this time?

  • Comment number 31.

    So, the James Gang is already up and running, ready to criticise and undermine Faldo and his team before a ball is even hit.

    As players none of them could hold a candle to Faldo and because he chose not to be "one of them", all laddish and clubby, they resent his success and never miss an opportunity to snipe and gripe.

    Typical of them was James' childish and immature reaction to Faldo's letter of support after he wasn't chosen - he threw it in the bin.

    As a "rent-a-mob" thay are ever ready with a comment or criticism and we can only hope that they soon have to learn the meaning of hubris.

  • Comment number 32.

    Can these ex Ryder Cup captains not shut the hell up?

    It's irrelevant what they think.

    Casey and Poulter are the two highest ranked of our players not qualified

    Casey and Poulter play more often than the others in the US and should therefore be better acclimatised.

    Clarke may have won two tournaments, but low ranking points indicate the relative weakness of those tournaments (even if a win is a win). Is it churlish and unfeeling to point out that he didn't qualify two years ago either.

  • Comment number 33.

    Good article. I am no great admirer of Faldo as a person, and it was inevitable he would end up irritating some people whilst Ryder Cup captain.

    But in terms of the WC choices, there is simply no debate that there was a decent case to pick any two from Casey, Clarke and Poulter. And whoever missed out would rightly feel unlucky.

    There would be a more serious issue to address had Faldo dealt in bad faith - eg by telling Poulter ahead of Gleneagles that he was in - and so far there's no evidence that that happened. Casey and Poulter were perfectly defendable choices.

    If you want to recall the WC head-case, it was Mark James who picked - if I recall correctly - Andrew Coltart and Robert Karlsson and didn't play them till the singles. Faldo's selections make a helluva lot more sense.

  • Comment number 34.

    HRDC 99 You say that during his RC career Nick Faldo won many crucial points for Europe and you are correct but it`s a pity you did not do some research before making your comment.
    Faldo won 25 points from 11 RC appearances having played 46matches to do so - losing roughlt half half.( 2.27pts per appearance).

    Monty won 23.5 points from 8 appearances having played 36 matches winning 65% of them (2.97pts per appearance).

    Darren Clarke won 11.5 points from 5 appearances played 19 matches winning morre than half (2.4 pts per appearance)

    Paul Casey won 4points from 2 appearances
    having played 6 matches winning 4of them
    ( 2points per appearance)

    Ian Poulter won 1 point from 1 appearance
    having played 2 matches winning 1 of them
    (1point per appearance)

    Whilst I have no arguement with Paul Casey being picked I think statistics show that Both Darren and Monty are well in front of Poulter.

  • Comment number 35.

    "Out and about in Dublin much later that night, whole pubs were still chanting his name. Not Clarke's or Harrington's or even Sergio's."

    I really doubt this. Let's be honest, Monty is quite popular in Britain but in most other places he's seen as a moody old man who loves nothing more than scowling and having a pop at the galleries. He's one of the least likable characters on tour. The chances of his name being chanted by "whole pubs" in Dublin is pretty remote, especially considering what Clarke had gone through.

    Maybe it was a Scottish pub you were in!?

  • Comment number 36.

    I'm happy with Casey - played well in the last 2 Ryder Cup's and coming into form nicely at the moment.

    As for Poulter - hmm. I would have preferred to have seen one of Clarke or Monty to give a bit more experience (particularly as its in the US this year). If you look at the team, we have 4 rookies (Rose, Hansen, McDowell, Wilson) and 2 others who have only played once (Karlsson, Stenson). Given how crazy the US fans can get down the back 9 on sunday, experience could be vital.

    As for Azinger - none of the US picks are exciting at all (certainly wouldn't get anywhere near Europe's team). Should have picked Zach Johnson, he played well last time, and someone young and enthusiastic like Snedeker.

  • Comment number 37.

    You said 'all of Europe was behind the big man' .. I have to say thats only because he was representing Europe.

    I just dont get it. If people see Faldo as 'his own man' .. not likeable and so on .. then what the hell do they see in Montgomerie.

    He comes across as a whinger with no personality to speak of at all.

  • Comment number 38.

    Lets pray that Faldo doesn't do a Woodward.

    As it is it should be a comfortable European win.

  • Comment number 39.

    It's hardly surprising that up until this Olympics we have proven so hopeless at sport in this country - we just do not know how to embrace winners.

    It appears people have been poisoned by the Loser gang. Led ably by Mark James and now joined by the likes of Colin Montgomerie.

    Europe's greatest ever golfer, and until Steve Redgrave came along, the most successful British sportsman ever, deserves much more respect from these people.

    European golf tournaments are not worth a jot, otherwise the Americans would flood over here instead of vice versa (did anyone see who Darren Clarke beat to win the latest Euro-non-event?). The lack of respect people like James, Allis and Torrance have shown Faldo in the BBC studios should have seen them run out of golf.

    He has picked the highest ranked professionals not on the list. The only player that has earned a place at the debating table is Carl Pettersen.

    Time has moved on, we need to make room for new players to continue Europe's success. We need the likes of Rose, McDowell, Casey and Poulter to get winning records under their belts against rubbish American teams so that in ten year's time these men form the winning and experienced backbone of a team.

    All those calling for Darren Clarke and Colin Montgomerie - what's wrong with Christy O'Connor Jr.? He used to be good as well.

  • Comment number 40.

    At the end of the day, Faldo only has two picks, there will always be someone who disagrees with his choices. The time to judge whether they were correct choices is after the cup is over, not before....

  • Comment number 41.

    Brassribs- Nonsense and ur comments are as childish and as immature as Faldos' pick of Poulter.

    Rambon- Ur ranking points argument while factually correct doesn't stack up when u consider Clarke didn't play in any of the majors becuase of circumstances we all know about. Yet he still managed to win twice and pick up 200 places. Poulter? 2 top 10 finishes, no wins in 22 tourneys and flatters in the rankings because of his finish in the Open.

    Lawdmuck- Your case is full of holes. Americans don't come over because they earn more money in 'target' gof in the states. Monty and Clarke have excellent records in the majors and how many times has Monty won the European Order of Merit.

    People are not having a go at Faldo because of his success, more because he has taken a flyer in picking his mate Poulter based on nothing anyone can figure out.

  • Comment number 42.

    Sorry meant to say Monty and Clarke have excellent records in the Ryder Cup!

  • Comment number 43.

    This blog raises emotions as each contributor has their own choices for who they want to see in the team.

    Whilst my heart tells me that I would have liked to see Clarke included because he has gone through a lot, that is probably not the best reason for including him. I respect the decisions of the best golfer this country has produced and who is rightly now the captain. Playing is quite different to being a captain and I happen to think he has some excellent qualities that will enable him to do a superb job. He is focussed and there is nothing wrong with being your own man.

    His reasons for his 2 picks are perfectly justifyable. All the players knew what they had to do before the season started so if they are not in the team, they cannot complain.

    Faldo will either be proved right or wrong in due course and the team and captain will benefit from support rather than critisism. I for one wish them all well.

    I am sure that Faldo will be willing them all on 100+% when the time comes and I hope they all do us proud.

  • Comment number 44.

    I also doubt that Monty's name was chanted aloud in the pubs (plural) of Dublin during the Ryder Cup. It would be a miracle if this happened in a single pub. Really pushing it to suggest that people sang about him in more than one pub. Unless, of course, the pubs were occupied by Scots supporters. In which case, the story becomes entirely plausible.

  • Comment number 45.

    Clarke tried so hard, he really did. Poulter had one good round in July and refused to play in the final qualifying event and still makes it....I really wonder exactly what Faldo told him two weeks ago when he had that conversation which resulte d in Poulter playing in the States. What really is Faldo's reasoning, it just doesn't add up.

    I just hope he won't be squirming in his seat when it comes to facing the media at Valhalla on September 21st.

  • Comment number 46.

    Rob poses an important question in whether Poulter will be able to handle himself under the inevitable barracking from some American supporters. I feel he will do just fine - he seems to have an almost unshakeable self-belief, yet sadly his tournament results do not support his view!

    Incidentally, the number of WC picks for each side tend to fluctuate depending on which side is in the ascendancy at any one time. During the 1980s European captains generally had more choice than the Americans, because USA kept winning! After having their backsides handed to them on the last three occasions Azinger insisted on having four picks - it remains to be seen how they perform. And I am astonished at him selecting Hunter Mahan after his outburst last month....

  • Comment number 47.

    I know this sounds a bit wrong, but I'm not 100% behind Europe this time.

    1. I hate Faldo. Always have always will. He has the charisma of a mouldy pear. He tried to ruin the Open with his dull comments with Linekar, but thankfully failed as the BBC supply the red button.

    2. I love Clarke and Monty. For me they are the Ryder Cup.

    3. Faldo is a git

    4. I hate Faldo (did I mention I think Faldo is horrid?)

    5. Azinger looks the part and has done nothing but impress me throughout his career

    6. I hate Poulter. I shall admit, probably because he likes Faldo.

    It has occured to me that Faldo has maybe allowed his position of authority to corrupt him. He doesn't like Monty and vice versa. He's doing it as one final professional wind up.

    Look I'll get to the point, I shall be supporting Europe, of course I will, but when I'm sitting there with my cup of tea and ham sandwich enjoying it all, I will feel 2 things are missing and they are Monty and Clarke.

    Oh, and maybe a pitchfork protruding from Faldo's head...

  • Comment number 48.


    Seeing as your entire contribution to this blog has been a series of posts slagging off other people's views, care to try some yourself.

    You've obviously got a major chip on your shoulder about Poulter or Faldo or both of them, but all you've succeeded in doing now is coming over as someone who'd be happy to see us lose because of Poulter's inclusion and then be able to tell everyone that you told us so.

    Seeing you're very adept at picking up flaws in other posts and clearly are trying to find a reason to justify the inclusion of Clarke or Monty instead of Poulter, can I point out some of your flaws?

    Please explain why Faldo's pick of Poulter is immature and childish?

    Your response to Americans not playing over here! Are you seriously having us believe that the US tour is weaker than the European Tour? Incredible!

    On the one hand you're finding reasons why Clarke's ranking points are below Poulter's, perhaps justifiably, but then in another argument you're praising Monty's virtues because of a history of past Order of Merit wins.

    Make your mind up. What reason do you want to justify you are right and either Clarke or Monty should be in - current form or past success or both? Yes, let's guess you want both reasons when they suit!

    Here's hoping that you don't get the result you'd like to see.

  • Comment number 49.

    1 -0 to the USA 1 - 0 to the good old US of A

    What has Faldo done - Poulter???? ahead of Clarke.....It's all or nothing, if Poulter doesn't perform then Faldo's head is on the block. Picked his ols mate ahead of the big day performers.
    No Irish in the team as well just shows one thing from Faldo's tactics.

    Common USA first time I will ever support them and like thoasands back in Ireland that unreservedly stood behind Monty and his gang.

  • Comment number 50.

    Best just to wait and see. If both Poulter and Casey play in three games and secure two points each, then everybody will probably be happy with their respective performances. If, however, they only manage a hit rate of one win out of three games, they will get the thumbs down.

    Life is fickle and Faldo could emerge in triumph or be christened as the first European captain to lose in four Ryder Cup outings (as in the newspaper headline, "Faldo faces his own personal Valhalla"). But, as I said at the start, I'm going to reserve judgment until after the tournament is over.

  • Comment number 51.

    What a surprise. Let's all slag off the European team and undermine the captain on day one.
    Faldo was appointed captain for this tournament years ago, and with his record in Majors and the Ryder Cup no one can doubt his right to have a turn. The job of Ryder Cup captain has absolute control. No compromising selection panels. Just one great ex player plotting against another. This is just one of the many aspects of the Ryder Cup that make it so engrossing.
    But of course the UK media and the miserable carping British public all think they can do better. It is one thing to voice opinions, but the predictable vitriolic attacks on Faldo and Poulter (what has he done wrong? He didn't pick himself for goodnesss sake!), by the bitter and twisted sum up why so many of us have left the UK for good.
    Try supporting your team! The US has six rookies in their team and no Tiger. This is a good opportunity to move on to the post Monty era and still win. Try and be positive!

  • Comment number 52.

    Well there's another surprise: an Irishman not supporting Europe just because the captain is English!
    BTW what part of Europe is Harringon from? Bulgaria, perhaps??

  • Comment number 53.

    I think its pretty clear to the golf fans, golf journlists and golf players that Faldo made a mistake not picking Clarke.

    The amount of fuss this has generated has backed up this statement. I don't think its the fact he picked Poulter, I think its the fact he did not pick Clarke that has people steaming. Poulter is just getting the blunt of it.

    If Poulter had qualified automatically we would not care.

    Anyway, the team is pick, I think we need to get behind them once more. This will be the closest RC for years. I think a few of the US players might surprise you.

    Top point scorer for Europe = Westwood
    Top point scorer for US = Cink

    Azinger should have picked Rocco Mediate, what a muppet.

  • Comment number 54.

    Badgers1- I was reacting to earlier views. Not at all suggesting that Monty should be picked but feel that the criticism of him was unjust.

    My main gripe is that I feel Clarke should have got the call over Poulter based on form this season and previous Ryder Cup record. 2 wins and 200 place progression in rankings, despite not playing majors, versus 2 top 10's makes the case.

    I have nothing against Poulter. Faldo put him under tremendous pressure when he picked him and compounded this when he was unable to justify the pick at Sunday's press conference. It was clear to all that Faldo was struggling to field the difficult questions and I doubt he has done much for team morale or trust.

    I will be cheering on the team but this has definitely dampened my enthusiasm.

  • Comment number 55.

    Faldo's mistake was to indicate way back that he would pick on both form and what his wildcards would need to bring to the 10 already qualified. On that stated basis many people clearly believe he should have picked Clarke + either Poulter or Casey. He has backed away from his original criteria and that 's his fault not Poulter's.

    Why is that unfair? Well because it meant that pros who care very much about the RC kept on trying to the very end - and this business about picking the 2 highest ranked outside of those who automatically qualified is a smokescreen, you either qualify automatically or you are picked under the captains stated criteria.

    It has also proved to be very unfair to Poulter in particular who has been put under undue and unfair pressure. Faldo did a u-turn but he'll never admit it. Still rooting for Europe though!

  • Comment number 56.

    Faldo is not and has never been a natural communicator when facing the press and public. But so what, we all know that he is
    Let's all get over the minor issue of whether or not Poulter,Clarke or Montgomerie should have been picked and move on. In fact there is little to choose between any of them, each having some merit to justify selection.
    I suppose it all makes for some interesting, and judging by some of the blogs I have read in the past 48 hours, some not so interesting comments on the subject.
    But I have always believed that the Ryder Cup is about the players, their pride in personal performance, and a desire not to let their team mates and country/countries down, as much as it is about the captain's selections -in recent times Europe have shown more desire than USA and come out on top, and let's face it, Woosnam's side won handsomely in spite of him rather than because of him.
    I'm more interested in Azinger's decision to pick a player who has thus far shown contempt for the competition. Desperate or what?

  • Comment number 57.

    Faldo is not and has never been a natural communicator when facing the press and public. But so what, we all know that he is just someone who is admired but not liked, and it is easy to stick the boot in when we disagree with what he says or does.
    Let's all get over the minor issue of whether or not Poulter,Clarke or Montgomerie should have been picked and move on. In fact there is little to choose between any of them, each having some merit to justify selection.
    I suppose it all makes for some interesting, and judging by some of the blogs I have read in the past 48 hours, some not so interesting comments on the subject.
    But I have always believed that the Ryder Cup is about the players, their pride in personal performance, and a desire not to let their team mates and country/countries down, as much as it is about the captain's selections -in recent times Europe have shown more desire than USA and come out on top, and let's face it, Woosnam's side won handsomely in spite of him rather than because of him.
    I'm more interested in Azinger's decision to pick a player who has thus far shown contempt for the competition. Desperate or what?

  • Comment number 58.

    Nick has done what he thinks is best for the European team. Why is it always the brits go back and want to bring up the players of the past...Monty is done!! let the newcomers prove their value to the team...get behind them and wish them and Nick well, the team is chosen now let's support them.

  • Comment number 59.

    To lutone
    When Europe won the ryder cup more

    Americans played better in the majors.

    More Americans had higher world rankings.

    More Americans had played more consistent golf!!!

    See what I'm saying????
    As Tiger Woods will testify it's not about form... I't's about TEAM !!!

  • Comment number 60.

    What about... drop Harrington and replace him with the the guy who cleans the toilets for Prince Edward???

  • Comment number 61.

    Then drop Garcia for a steak and kidney pie and Jimenez for some yorkshire pudding!!

  • Comment number 62.

    New european team is...
    Faldo, Casey, Faldo, Prince Philip, Fergie, Faldo, Camilla Parker Bowles, Faldo, Monty(Field Marshal) two more Faldos and Queen Victoria.

  • Comment number 63.

    Like it, macmac ... Faldo/Faldo in both foursomes and fourballs ... Nick can play with himself morning and afternoon!

  • Comment number 64.

    Fact - Poulter ended higher than Clarke in the World rankings.

    Fact - Clarke and Monty are not heroes that should be worshipped. Neither have won a major and both have enjoyed the easy life on the European cash cow tour.

    Fact - The match is taking place in America where thre three players ahead of those two: Casey, Poulter, Petterssen all play.

    Myth - Clarke's Ryder Cup record is not that great. 11.5 pts from 19 matches. Neither for that matter is his pal Westwood's. During the best spell for the European team look at their records and tell me they are great.

    Fact - There really wasn't much in it. Clarke or Poulter, Poulter or Clarke. It's not as if the decision will rock the result.

    Fact - Paul McGinley, and any number of others had every right to expect to be picked ahead of Montgomerie on sentiment alone. To even mention him, considering form and value to golf over the past two qualifying years, is a joke. A very bad one.

    Fact - Faldo is Europe's greatest ever golfer. He gets absolutely no respect from any of the in-crowd. Yet is revered in a country that respects winners.

    Fact - Mark James picked Andrew Coltart over Bernard Langer. Coltart lost the important singles match that cost Europe the Ryder Cup. James should not be allowed anywhere near the comment table. His abuse and lack of respect for Faldo is disgusting. And who does Sam Torrance think he is?

    Fact - Faldo's Ryder Cup record is unbeatable simply because he won points when European players wet their pants at the prospect of playing Americans. He knows what it takes to win.

    Fact - If Faldo's choice was an old pal's act he would have picked Nick Dougherty.

    Fact - Faldo's team points the way to the future, not the past. Soon we could have a Spanish captain picking a team of Swedes.

  • Comment number 65.

    That's powerful stuff, Muck ... and, as it happens, all pretty much right.

    USA 16 Europe 12

  • Comment number 66.

    Fact: Clarke with his not great record has a better ryder cup record than Faldo:
    Faldo's Ryder cup record = 26/45 = 54%
    Clarkes RC record = 11.5/19 = 61%

    Fact: Poulter has not won a major or even anything of note in his career.

    Fact: Poulter played iun the states this year with only 1 top 10 finish - hardly the form that will have the US remotely worried.

    Fact: Faldo promised to pick form players as wildcards. Poulter choked away the last month, Clarke smashed the field in Holland.

    Fact: Clarke has 2 victories in the states, poulter has none.

    Fact: Clarke has 2 victories this year, Poulter has none.

    Fact: World ranking are based over 2 years - Clarke missed most of last year for reasons only a golfing luddite would be unaware of, Clarke missed out on most of the top point earning comps, he would have easily qualified if he competed in them.

    Fact: Faldo has an outstanding golfing record as a player. (Not to be confused with ability to manage a team)

    Dont let your love of Faldo cloud the issue - he made what is almost universally being seen as a howler in not picking Clarke.

  • Comment number 67.

    Think it has to be agreed that Clarke is a player of greater stature in the game than Ian Poulter ... that might change if Ian wins a couple of big tournaments at some point but, as we speak, he hasn't.

    That's a good point of Muck's though, isn't it? ... about Faldo having won his RC points when USA were dominant ... I'd say that does give him the better record.


  • Comment number 68.

    datsacracker: Ok, remind me then which majors Clarke has ever won? Let alone recently, whereas Poulter came second at the Open.

    Get over your sentimentality for a minute or so and look at logic instead. Faldo made the right choice.

  • Comment number 69.

    Clarke won 2 WGC's, which are acknowledged as a step off the majors.

    I'll admit Clarke should have a major by now and has underperformed individually but as a TEAM player Clarke has few peers and dont forget the RC is a team game not about individual achievement.

    Coming second two months ago is about as good as it will get for Poulter - People keep talking like he is an up and coming player - the guy is nearly 33 not a raw talent.

    Clarke was part of a team that broke US dominance even when the US were acknowledge to have the better individuals. Faldo's individual record is without peer in Europe but he is just not a team guy - The reason the US dominated the 80's in RC is becausse the European team did not bond and Faldo is bringing back those bad old days.

  • Comment number 70.

    Why are we talking about majors, what has it to do with the RC? - Clarke has far more top 10's in majors than Poulter anyway.

  • Comment number 71.

    There is simply no logic in picking Poulter

  • Comment number 72.

    Well what can i say , lepoards really can't change their spots. An English captain choosing English players over the rest what a suprise.It's well documented that this is a receipe for disaster, last british lions tour as prime example.Clarke's ranking as was pointed out was affected by his year out, Monty's also had a couple of years of domestic turmoil, but they always produced the goods at the ryder cup. Poulters a show pony, who'll be shown up and will fall to pieces, casey's a solid player but can't buy a putt just now, and we all know, it's the team that putts best that wins.I just hope the rest of the boys can carry these two, if Faldo has the guts to play them.

  • Comment number 73.


    Just a thought, but part of the fact that Clarke has more top 10s in majors than Poulter might have something to do with the fact that he has played in a shed load more and is older.

  • Comment number 74.

    Why is everyone comparing records between Clarke, who is flying his private jet downhill and Poulter, who, although 33 is a late starter?

    If that is the game, try comparing Carl Petersen's record this year with Clarke's.

    As far as I see it the anti-Faldo losers from golf (who is Ewan Murray for goodness sakes?), have created a bandwago for people to climb aboard.

    There have been a lot worse picks than Poulter over Clarke in the past century.

  • Comment number 75.

    Clarke flying a private jet downhill?? He has come back from a situation few will ever have to deal with and is still able to dominate a field in golf. Just jumped 200 places in world rankings in the last year, if he is going downhill I'm an astronaut.

    The word bandwagon was invented for Poulter - he concentrates more on his clothing brand than golf, regular pronouncements of his own greatness (Nothing but 1 decent finish all year to back it up). He needs a little humility and dare I say it needs to earn some respect before mouthing off anymore.

    Agreed with Petersson - he was very unlucky - he is actually able to play golf in the states and is a proven winner there, I could understand his inclusion over Clarke if there were not 4 rookies in the team already.

  • Comment number 76.

    How about an unbiased template against which to judge relative merit?

    So you have different classes of golfers, as follows, ranked in descending order of prowess.

    "Tiger Class"
    Tiger is currently the only member of this.

    "World Class"
    Players who are well below TC but are a cut above everyone else. Guys who have either won more than 2 majors or are pretty much nailed on to do so. Only 6 members at the moment ... Els, Singh, Mickelson, Garcia, Harrington, Kim.

    "Great Player Class"
    Not quite WC but a cut above EPC. These guys are eminently capable of winning multiple majors, and other big events, but often seem to come up a little short. There aren't many members of GPC, since it's still quite exclusive ... who springs to mind are Ogilvy, Westwood, Goosen, Furyk, Scott, Weir (bet I've missed a couple!).

    "Excellent Player Class"
    Guys in EPC are good enough to win a big one, maybe 2 or 3, but you can't call them great golfers. So here we find big Darren and quite a few others ... the likes of Stenson, Jimenez, Perry, Leonard ... that sort of thing, you know what I mean?

    "Good Golfer Class"
    Absolutely tons of guys currently plying their trade at GGC level. They're good, often very good, but it's a surprise if they come through and win something big (they need more than their share of luck to do so). Casey and Poulter are both in here. So are
    McDowell, Rose, Karlsson.

    "Mr Average Class"
    As you would imagine, MAC is more populous than GGC. We're talking here of your honest, solid, workmanlike professional golfer making a very good living from the pro circuit ... we're talking Paul McGinley plus a whole host of others.

    "Always Struggling Class"
    Plenty of players in ASC also. Maybe even as many as in MAC. Missed cuts are the order of the day, here ... so guys such as Daly (ex GPC), Duval (ex WC) and Robert Rock.

    "Monty Class"
    Rather like TC, this is an extremely exclusive category and is required to accomodate just a single (ex WC) individual. MC is the bottom of the heap in that it's very possible to move up from here but you can't get any lower.

  • Comment number 77.

    was just pointing out that Poulter has the better world ranking.

    For all those that claim Faldo picked his mate, isn't it Clarke's mates, torrence et all who are saying he should be in?

    swings and roundabouts.

    Personally i think Poulter will prove everyone wrong and have a storming cup

  • Comment number 78.

    Sagamix, you make a good point about unbaised groupings of players, and then let yourself down by putting your opinion about who should be in each class!

    How about another class...
    "Perfectly Decent Players That Didn't Have The Application To Win A Major Because They Made Easy Money On The European Tour"

    I believe we all know who fits in this category.

    It seems clear that Faldo wanted players as near to his mould as possible. About time professionals in Europe were encouraged to test themselves in the toughest arenas.

  • Comment number 79.


    Fact - Mark James picked Andrew Coltart over Bernard Langer. Coltart lost the important singles match that cost Europe the Ryder Cup. James should not be allowed anywhere near the comment table. His abuse and lack of respect for Faldo is disgusting. And who does Sam Torrance think he is?

    Who does Sam Torrance think he is?

    Maybe he thinks he is former captain who took Europe to a record breaking victory.

    Why does he think that? Oh right... BECAUSE HE IS!

    I think he's more entitled to an opinion than you...

  • Comment number 80.

    Oh god, I've just reread the Monty bit from that post #76 of mine and it comes across like I (somebody who breaks 90 about twice a year) am actually sneering at one of the best European golfers there has ever been.

    I think I should take a good sized break from this forum ... return if, and only if, I can learn to express myself rather better.

    Just one last thing is that I've taken a look at the RC teams, listed next to each other, and what hit me like a big wet fish around the chops was that the Europeans are man for man better right the way down from 1 to 12 ... makes the 16-12 result in favour of USA all the more remarkable!

  • Comment number 81.

    Despite the humour I admire Nick for standing by his convictions and I think Ian will give the team some colour and spirit in what is going to be a very tense atmosphere.

  • Comment number 82.

    LawdMuck - well said.

    Only-Sleggin (post 49):

    I was under the impression that Padraig Harrington and Graham McDowell were both Irish but do correct me if I'm wandering about in my own dreamworld, divorced from reality and knowing nothing about golf.

    Or could that be you...?

  • Comment number 83.

    "The reason the US dominated the 80's in RC is becausse the European team did not bond and Faldo is bringing back those bad old days."

    Correct me if I'm wrong but the history books indicate that Europe came very close in 1983 and were the stronger force from 1985 on - which they should have been, with Faldo, Langer, Ballesteros, Lyle, Woosnam, Olazabal etc in the team.

    DC got his first RC in 1997 - the Seve RC at Valderrama.

  • Comment number 84.

    Agree with BartonAlan from yesterday.

    Faldo has always been and always will be "for himself".

    Much as it will gall me I believe the US will win because Faldo will lack whats needed to be a good team captain.

  • Comment number 85.

    I waste way too much time watching the PGA Tour every weekend but one thing that really stands out is that players come into and out of form. I think most of us amateurs also know the feeling of thinking we've "cracked it" for a few weeks but then lose it again a month later.

    Recent form is extremely important in picking the team and the two players who put up great recent performances when under scrutiny are Darren Clarke and Carl Pettersson, both winners within the last month. Clarke knew he had to do something special to be considered and he did it. Pettersson set his stall out to win in his adopted hometown and did it. Current form and the ability to perform under pressure was demonstrated by them both.

    Clarke and Pettersson both have lots of experience of playing in America, which, believe me, is very different from Europe, and both are the type to do well in matchplay (as Clarke proves very well as former World Champ).

    I like Faldo, Poulter and Casey. They're all heroes of mine. But the head says Clarke and Pettersson. I hope to be proven profoundly wrong!

  • Comment number 86.

    Having been to 3 RCs with Clarke and Monty in action it will be different to watch this one without them.

    Monty in particular was a rock at the last RC at the Belfry and he gains followers in the RC who wouldnt want him to win a raffle the rest of the year.

    How funny it was to hear the Fields of Athenry out of the tented village long after the cup was won as we Europeans struggled for a chant to complete with the "USA..USA" all week.

    My experience is we all would pick a different 12 and are not extactic about some of those who qualify, but come the 3rd weekend in Sept its them or us and we all know what side we are on.

    Its the big players who win the cup. We should be safe with what we have. Pressure then is on Harrington, Jiminez Rose and Garcia to deliver 3 each. Westwood should be good for at least 1 on current form, Stenson and Hansen 1 each.

  • Comment number 87.

    Well said Rumental... I agree 100%
    I remember Monty at Abu Dubai... it was a 275 yard second shot onto a 20 yard wide water surrounded green... he took a 3 wood and nailed it pin high.... he may not putt the best in the world but tee to green he will never have an equal.

  • Comment number 88.

    To Brassribs - re the James Gang.

    Lets get one thing straight - I dont think there is a single person on this blog who is doubting Faldo's abilities and record as a player.
    What most people are questioning, because Faldo has often demonstrated it himself, is his personality. It had nothing to do with the fact he chose not to be "one of them". He was single minded without doubt - but you do you think Jack Nicklaus wasnt, or Tiger for that matter. However, Jack was a gentleman who knew his place and knew how to behave and the reason he is so revered is as much down to the way he has handled the attention and media and fans throughout his career.
    I give you an example. I was at Lytham in '88 and Faldo had come off a practice round. Kids were scrambling for an autograph and he just pushed pass them telling them he was too busy. Next group in was Payne Stewart - he spent an hour signing. And I don't think it necessary to say who people would be the most popular out of the two.
    Faldo was rude to fans, rude to the press and ignorant to his peers and his attitude was so what, I am trying to beat them not be their friends. Then tell me how Arnie, Jack, Gary, Seve, Tom Watson won the majors they did and still were immensley popular!!

  • Comment number 89.

    To Sevvy9: Couldn't care less mate. If that is what Faldo needed to be like to become Europe's most successful golfer then so be it.

    He paved the way fo the Europeans you see today, winning the Ryder Cup every time it's contested and going on the American Tour without any fear.

    Seb Coe refused to sign my autograph book once, and Steve Ovett came straight behind and gladly signed it. After winning the Olympics bid, Seb Coe is this nation's greatest sporting hero of all time. And I applaud him his single mindedness.

    I watch golf to be entertained by golf. I do not invest time in these people as human beings. I couldn't care less about their private lives.

    Mark James should be run out of the sport for his ignorance of what it takes to achieve glory in his chosen career.

    Faldo shouldn't have had to wait this long to captain the Ryder Cup. They should have begged him to do it on bended knee.

    Oh, and since he retired he has become a different man. The Septics love him, but the Brits can't stand winners.

  • Comment number 90.

    have read a heard what people have to say wrong or right picks are done lets just get behind the team instead of booing.people who have attacked poulter should hold there heads in shame he didnt pick himself faldo did so come on europe tan there backsides again the yanks have nothing in there team even if they had woods they still would lose

  • Comment number 91.

    Harry Vardon was the greatest ever British or European golfer so stop spouting all this Faldo greatest golfer tosh and if as I suspect you will say that was a long time ago, well I don't think Faldo would have any chance of winning a major if he was around now. In fact Faldo was around at a very low ebb for golf Nicklaus, player and Watson, all far superior to him were all at the end of their careers and with the exception of Sevy and Norman none of the golfers of his era would make the top 20 now.

  • Comment number 92.

    Mmmm, Vardon versus Faldo, Harry or Nick as the GEBOEGOAT? ... very interesting topic (and shades of the "is W.G. Grace better than Ian Botham?" debate that's always running on the cricket boards).

    I go for Harry, I think, because he has a particular way of holding a golf club named after him. Not aware of anything that's called a "Faldo".

    WG as opposed to Botham, I keep changing my mind on.

  • Comment number 93.

    DWALDO: I am very impressed that you saw Harry Vardon play golf.

    I would imagine Tiger Woods isn't fit to lace his hobnail golf boots, simply because the clubs and balls are now made of superfly magic materials.

    And don't forget poor old Tiger has only had the likes of good old Monty and Darren Clarke to compete against. Woods must be rubbish by your reckoning.

    Nick Faldo's application to his sport is only comparable to winners of the modern day. The very greatest winners. Such as Mr Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, etc. Vijay Singh is perhaps the nearest modern day comparison apart from Woods.

  • Comment number 94.

    Lawdmuck- Obviously Faldo didn't pave the way our major winners Poulter, Casey, etc etc?

    Bit like our football team mate, the golden era that didn't happen. More show than substance, particularly Poulter

  • Comment number 95.

    This whole thing is a non-argument.

    Nick Faldo is the captain of the current Ryder Cup squad, by dint of which he is allowed two captain's selections / wildcard picks, call them what you will, that are the captain's way of leaving his stamp on the formation of HIS team. He is entitled, without explanation to pick any two (eligible) players that he fancies. It does not matter a sook that he didn't pick the 11th and 12th in the standings, that he didn't pick Darren Clarke (regardles of ones interpretation of his current form) or that he didn't pick Colin Montgomery (regardless of his track record in the event). The fact is that the captain is priviliged with selecting, without justification, the two players he wants in the team. He wanted Poulter and Casey. End game. The fact is and this may spell it out for future generations, if you want to be sure to be in the Ryder Cup team than you have to meet the qualification standard and make the top ten. If you fail to do so then there can be no recrimination if you are not picked.

    On a lesser note, Clarke and Montgomery were not excluded - they were not selected.
    They are great golfers but time and tide wait for no man. Casey and Poulter are (arguably) the future of British golf and the Captain has chosen to nail his colours to their masts. The good thing is that they are guaranteed to play in the doubles. Unlike Mark James' pick, Andy Coltart, who languished in the clubhouse until Sunday.

  • Comment number 96.

    The statistics posted by 1Wattie are impressive but as we know 'past performance does not guarantee future success'
    On this years performance I am not sure even Monty would have picked himself. All great players have their day and then they must move over for the next generation.
    I am sorry that Poulter did not try to win his place in the final event, and I personally would have gone for Clarke, but it is the Captains choice. He isn't obliged to pick the next 2 in the order of merit, he has a free hand to select anyone at all to complete his team. So lets give Faldo the support he deserves.

  • Comment number 97.

    It has been very interesting reading everyones opinion on this blog and it proves one thing... everyone has differing opinions and it's Faldo's choice and he'll live or die by his choices.

    Clarke - Fantastic Player, great at Matchplay would have been a great pick

    Casey - Showed real promise of being a great but cant seem to get 4 rounds together in a Major (Like every other British Golfer these days). Great at matchplay, if putter get's as hot as it did the other year then a definate pick.

    Monty - Plus points are self explanatory and might well have kicked him into form, but can you blame Faldo for not wanting an out of form player who may undermine him in the team room... hard to say from anyone on the outside.

    Poulter - Love him or hate him you cant slate him, he turned pro of a 4 H\cap i believe and with pure grit and determination worked his nut's off to get to the ranks of US and PGA Tour. with a work ethic like that it's no wonder the original golf machine is drawn to him. You can guarantee he will give absolutely everything to be a success. Also think how many putts did poulter miss in the majors this year.. yeah you can say bottler but he holed the hardest one that he had to make so that is really out of the window. lets just hope he forgets where the hosel of his irons are though!!

    It seems like i'm plumping for Poulter, I dont really care who plays I just see all this defense of Monty and who was it who was utterly embarrassed by his playing partners outburst at the London club this year, for that incident alone Monty wouldn't be picked.

    The one guy I feel sorry for is Martin Laird, I haven't studied it in close detail but the only ever present near the top of any leaderboard over the last month is him. obviously his experience may have ruled him out but may have been worth a shout on form plus he play's in america.

    Win or Lose lets just hope for good golf and justin leonard getting hammered!!!

  • Comment number 98.

    I feel we all need to realise the Ryder cup is not going to be won by the team with most major winners or the highest ranking players otherwise Europe would never win.
    Being from N. Ireland I do feel a little pi$$ed that Ian played in Boston rather than gain an automatic place but I am fully behind Europe and give the "TEAM" my 100% support.

  • Comment number 99.

    All of the recent blogs on the subject of faldo's picks only go to show just how parochial the predominantly british view of european golf really is.
    There is absolutley no question that Pettersen should have been selected - he has achieved more this year than Casey and the overrated Poulter put together - did Faldo really pick him on the strength of one putt?
    All scandanavians - where sits the real force in european golf these days should feel rightly aggrieved, and on behalf of all right thinking british sports fans I apologise to you all!

  • Comment number 100.

    I just wonder if Faldo thought Petterson was not European enough? I know he was born in Sweden, but has lived in the US since he was 15 and by his own admission says he feels more American than European. Also, he is not really a product of the European tour - the other US based players did at least cut their teeth in Europe. I do agree though, that on paper he would have been a very good choice and I'm sure he would have made a good contribution.


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