Ryder Cup surprise
- 4 Sep 06, 08:47 AM
MUNICH - So Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood are Ian Woosnam's two wildcard picks.
I have to admit this is the second time in which I've been surprised when the captain has announced his picks.
Two years ago, rumours swept the press tent that Freddie Jacobson was going to get the nod from Bernhard Langer at the expense of Luke Donald.
It's a fascinating time after the BMW International has finished. We're all left waiting and wondering in the media tent and rumour and counter rumour abounds.
This time, with about three quarters of an hour to go, strong word circulated that Thomas Bjorn would get the second pick with Darren Clarke.
Earlier I'd spun through the record books and results of this year. Bjorn was ahead of Westwood on every performance list: world ranking, Order of Merit and Ryder Cup points.
He'd also finished the final qualifying tournament stronger than his rival.
It seemed Woosnam might have cottoned on to it. Someone claimed they'd seen Bjorn being congratulated; Westwood was in the air flying home.
But the rumours were unfounded. Woosnam still hadn't made up his mind.
Indeed he had only just come to his decision minutes before strolling into a packed interview room.
He looked comfortable and relaxed and when European Tour media man Scott Crockett handed over to the skipper he wasted no time.
First to be named - Darren Clarke (we kind of knew that) then I think I detected a slight strain in his voice as he said: "Lee Westwood".
There was big applause, especially for Clarke - media tents are not usually places for clapping of hands.
I feel sorry for Bjorn - he's devastated - but in truth it's hard to imagine a European Ryder Cup team without Clarke or Westwood.
Very soon afterwards news came through of Clarke's reaction - obvious delight and honour. He also revealed that he's been honing his game at his home course, Queenwood in Surrey, where he had just successfully defended the club's championship.
Methinks Woods and co will present a sterner test.
Anyway I'm not going to think too much about the Ryder Cup this week (fat chance!), I'm off on the train to Crans Sur Sierre on Monday ready to witness Michelle Wie's European Tour debut.
I thought about driving, then I heard about the train - it was my biggest decision of the week - I guess not quite in the same league as Woosie!
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