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Ryder Cup surprise

  • Iain Carter - Radio Five Live golf correspondent
  • 4 Sep 06, 08:47 AM

Iain_carter55x55.jpg 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!

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 10:13 AM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Paul Gibson wrote:

Not really sure why Iain Carter is surprised by this. Westwood's record, especially in the last Ryder Cup made him a certainty, assuming he was in any sort of form.
I may be slightly controversial here, but on a purely golfing level, I'd be more worried about Darren Clarke's ability to pick himself up after all he's gone through recently. As nearly all sportsmen will say, it also takes time and involvement to be sharp and on top form. I wish him well.
As for the rest of the team, I hope we're not in danger of copying the England World Cup footballers and buliding them up too much; the Open showed that some maybe aren't as good as they'd like to think they are.[Ian Poulter's omission from the team ought to concentrate his mind on golf and away from so-called fashion]. It's time for the likes of Padraig Harrington to live up to their reputations and not, once again, fall by the wayside when things get tough.
Good luck to the team, it's not going to be easy, but we have got a good chance, after all Tiger is only 1/12th of the USA side!

  • 2.
  • At 10:21 AM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Sandy MacKenzie wrote:

Key point in Ian's comment is the comparison between Bjorn and Westwood this year. This makes Woosie's selection even more confusing.

This pick will not go down well on the Continent and could be viewed as a "homer" selection.

May be proven wrong, but wonder if the selection of Westwood at Bjorn's expense could prove costly.

Hope not!

  • 3.
  • At 10:22 AM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Guillaume wrote:

Why ? Why ? Why ? Thomas Bjorn deserved so much a wild card. He played better than Lee Westwood. He is also experienced in Ryder Cup, and he has a very goog cup record. And he's a good friend of every single european player.
I'm sorry to say that, but I think it's a shame than Ian Woosman considers European team like a British team (see also his vice captains).

  • 4.
  • At 10:30 AM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • SImon wrote:

I am very concerned at this years Ryder Cup team, And this has nothing to do with the Wild card picks as there is no doubting the class of Westwood and Clarke. The European qualifying system could be the reason we lose the cup. Johan Edfors (6th from 21 events) and Thomas Bjorn (11th from 21 events) should feel very hard done by, I can not see how Paul McGinley (61st from 19 events) deserves to be in the team, or even qualifies? Based on current form or performances this year, there is obviously a big flaw in the European Qualification process. I want to see Europe play with the best in form players we have and McGinley is not one of those at present! I hope he proves me wrong!

  • 5.
  • At 10:31 AM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Dexter wrote:

Ian Woosnam picked Lee Westwood for the team because he has a history of playing good when paired with Darren Clarke... despite the fact that he has shown very little for the past three seasons..??!

If the past is such a heavy criteria, Woosie might as well have picked Seve... he has an even better history of playing good golf when he is paired with Olazabal..!


  • 6.
  • At 10:34 AM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • David Kidd wrote:

Get the feeling that if Europe win it will be despite their captain. Nothing he has done, from his winging about not getting the job earlier and claiming it was "his turn" to the indecision over his picks. Lets hope he gets his act together at the K Club.
So far Tom Lehman does not appear to have put a foot wrong in preparing himself and his team.

  • 7.
  • At 10:40 AM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • J Britton wrote:

I feel very sorry for Bjorn it would appear that he has an all round better performance record. I hope this decision does not come back to haunt Woosie. Best of luck guys, I don't think this is going to be as easy as some people think it will, I don't see all our players at the top of their games. This time they will need to be at their very best.

  • 8.
  • At 10:52 AM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Andy Philip wrote:

Personally ,I think it was close between Westwood and Bjorn so cant really argue one way or the other . However, i think its blindingly obvious that on current form as well as ranking position Carl Pettersen should have been the other pick.

  • 9.
  • At 11:05 AM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Ole wrote:

Woosnam's reasoning fails logic. Bjorn is ranked higher in every aspect, has great Ryder Cup experience and success and has proven he can play well with both Continental and British players. I cannot help feeling that Woosnam prefers a Bristish team.

  • 10.
  • At 11:06 AM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Jess Have wrote:

Just shows that the Welshman is more keen to have some British players than European players on the team.
Selecting someone based on his past achievements is not good. Mr Woosnam could have selected Monty for that matter. He has a good Ryder Cup record as well.
Let's just hope and pray for the team to survive this (lack of) captaincy.

  • 11.
  • At 11:07 AM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Martin Dickson wrote:

I think the choice Woosnam has made is very predictable. However in the 2 from 3 debate Carl Petterson, considerably above both Bjorn and Westwood has been omitted. It may be unthinkable a Ryder cup without Clarke/Westwood but then 10 years ago it was unthinkable without Seve ! Time moves on, so must the team. In terms of team spirit I hope Monty's comments about Olazabal are forgotton, don't recall anyone questioning where he was at the recent WGC event - a third rate celebrity gof event !

  • 12.
  • At 11:07 AM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Jean-Claude wrote:

I'm Danish and disapointed that Bjorn wasn't chosen. That being said he could 'just' have qualified within the ten automatic pics. Therefore I won't moan about Westwoods selection. I will however say that I'm very scared that the whole Clarke saga might overshadow events and somehow become the main focus point at the K-club. Which I think is wrong and it is such a ready made excuse for failure of him and the team. I think it's a distraction that the European team does not need.

  • 13.
  • At 11:08 AM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Tim Collins wrote:

Why on earth would anyone be surprised by the 2 wild card picks. Westwood has 1 of the best Ryder Cup records around winning 11 1/2 points out of a possible 20. Clarke on the other hand has only won half his matches with 8 1/2 out of 17. For me the decision was between Clarke and Bjorn not Westwood and Bjorn. Westwood has forged a superb partnership with Garcia in the fourballs over the last 2 Ryder Cups and they are a pivotal combination if we are going to win. The one concern I have is the Captain himself. 2 years ago we had Bernard langer who was meticulous in his preparations and he got his pairings spot on. I don't have the same confidence in Woosnam. At his Press conference he said Clarke had a "superb Ryder Cup record". Closer examination of that statement shows he has an OK record but not better. If the captain hasn't even looked at his players past records in the competition how confident are we that he is going to get the pairings right. The players have done their jobs in getting all our main men in the team, but is the captain going to use them right??? I really, really hope so.

  • 14.
  • At 11:13 AM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Carsten wrote:

As a european citizen the wildcard for Lee Westwood seems like christmas has come early this years.

Lee Westwood have had some fantastic results on the ET and in the Ryder Cup in the past, no doubt about that, but he has not been close to that form since the last Ryder Cup. Bjorn has proven himself as a winner this year - winning in Ireland! - and supported the ET by playing fulltime on the tour. That should be taken into consideration!

I feel sorry for Bjorn, but also for Lee who now has to win all his matches to prove the whole golfing world that the captain made the right pick. I doubt very much he did so - unfortunately!

I also hope Bjorn will prove Woosnam wrong and show him what an error of judgement he has made.

Best regards

  • 15.
  • At 11:13 AM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Stephen Lovatt wrote:

Westwood is the right choice because of his record at the K club, anyone who plays golf knows that some courses suit your eye and this is obviously the case for Lee at this venue.

I have another question for those saying that Bjorn should have been picked instead of Westwood, if you had to pick between the two for someone to hole a 4-5 foot put on the last green then who would you pick?

I'd suggest it would have to be Lee Westwood, Thomas Bjorn has shown on several occasions that the pressure can get to him with The Open being an obvious example. Thomas Bjorn is very unlucky to miss out and I feel for him but I think overall this was the correct decision.

I agree that McGinley seems to be the weak link - he even admits that he hasn't played well this year. In contrast, Lee Westwood has been doing pretty well this last 6 months, and if we are looking at likely point-winners for Europe, I would back Lee over McGinley (and one or two others every time). As for Darren Clarke, I do fear for him, and I wonder whether he would have been picked had it not been in Ireland. That said, he will have huge support - so let's hope that that sputs him on at this difficult time.

  • 17.
  • At 11:16 AM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • George Thompson wrote:

I maybe wrong but I believe that Westwood has a better record of finishing off a tournament/match than Bjorn and am reminded of the Open at Royal Sandwich.....maybe that thought also occured to Woosnam

  • 18.
  • At 11:19 AM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Bo Nielsen wrote:

Having lived in Ireland for 12 years and have followed Irish/British sport intimately during this period. It is the same story, teams irrespective of what sport is mostly based on reputation rather than form. Even at junior level. Wildcard is the same story as 1999 where some obscure Scottish player of no use, and proved to be of use was picked ahead of inform Robert Karlsson merely because he was "British". It is the same again, Thomas never stood a chance and the decision was possibly taken a while back. Most press reports had Darren and Lee as wildcards already 4-5 weeks ago. No smoke without fire. A sad day again for European Golf. Maybe there should be a team from the rest of Europe as well to compete. Enough of "British" nepotism.

Bo Ewald

  • 19.
  • At 11:29 AM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Barry wrote:

I agree entirely with Andy Philip. Carl Petterson has scored more world ranking points this year than anyone on the European team apart from Luke Donald. He's ranked ahead of Casey, McGinley, Westwood and Bjorn and has had 6 top tens on the US tour this year including one win, yet his name was hardly even mentioned. What more does he have to do?

  • 20.
  • At 11:41 AM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Chris Mann wrote:

Has everyone forgotten Thomas Bjorn's performances at the K-Club. I think he walked off the course 3 years ago because of "Demons" in his head, and a couple of years ago finished something like 12 ,8 at 17 and 18. He didn't even play there last year. Woosnam has picked horses for courses with both Westwood and Clarke winning there. How can you pick someone who obviously has a problem twith the course?

At the risk of being overly "political" rather than concentrating on pure golfing criteria, my main worry about his selection is how it will be perceived on the continent and whether the unity of the European team might be undermined as a result.

In purely golfing terms there was little to choose between Westwood and Bjorn either on current form or Ryder Cup records. I personally would have taken both of them and not Clarke, but once Clarke made it clear he was available, it was pretty hard for Woosie not to pick him given his standing in the European game.

Enjoy Crans sur Sierre, Iain.

  • 22.
  • At 11:47 AM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Matt wrote:

Some of the comments suggesting a British bias in the selections are a little off I think. The team consists of 1 Scot, 4 Englishmen, 2 Spaniards, 2 Swedes and 3 Irishmen (not part of Britain by the way). So in total there are 5 players that would be able to describe themselves as British and 7 that are not British. Hardly a bias.

  • 23.
  • At 11:58 AM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Svend Larsen wrote:

Westwood instaed of Björn could(/should?) be the end og Captains pick. Clarke was the obvious choice. He is a brilliant golf player with excellent Ryder Cup perfomances og victories in big tornement apart majors. I can understand if Björn is disappointed - very disappointed. Westwood hasn't played good golf the past 3 seasons - so this smells sadly of strong nepotiesm. Withdraw Lee Westwood -it would be best for Europe.
This conflict pops anoyher question; "If the best argument is that Westwood play good thogether with Clarke" - has time run out of Captains pick ? It seames so !

  • 24.
  • At 12:03 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Leo Sewell wrote:

It was a very tough choice indeed for Woosnam, and whichever way he went there would be criticism.

I think the European team looks very strong indeed. Their average world ranking is significantly better than that of the American team for the first time in living memory, and there is vast experience there also.

Conversely, the US team looks to lack depth. Woods and Furyk are in tremendous form, but one of their star players in Mickelson is very much off the boil at the moment, and the likes of JJ Henry and Vaughn Taylor lack experience at Major of Ryder Cup levels.

Ideally my European team would have included Bjorn in place of McGinley, but it still looks a very strong side indeed, and one I expect to see win.

But then again not many people would have backed Europe to win any of the last four and they succeeded three times, so you never can tell...

  • 25.
  • At 12:04 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • kevin wrote:

Woosnam has just picked his mates - end of story. Its one last weekend out for the old guard. Team should be picked using positions in the majors and the worlsd rankings not on the basis of holing a few puts at he K Club in the past.

  • 26.
  • At 12:06 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Ken Miller wrote:

As an avid watcher of golf I believe Woosnam has made a good choice.
Bjorn is a fine player but has crumbled under pressure more than once and has his well publicised 'demons' to contend with. That said, he is a good player and would have been preferable to McGinley whose form is certainly in the over par category.
I reckon Woosie made the choice on golfing thoughts and that the nationalistic comments are overplayed.
The best comment so far has been the accurate depiction of Tom Lehman's prep - he's a step ahead of recent US captains and no matter how good and experienced Europe are a fully motivated US team will be hard to beat.
I think if we can keep it tight until the singles we will have a decent chance given the relatively out of form four US rookies. Bring it on!

  • 27.
  • At 12:09 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Pete wrote:

Reckon Woosie has done the right thing by going with his gut. All the guys who would have been considered for wildcards are quality players and Westie will not disappoint. Clarkie will rise to the occasion, his wife's death whilst very sad was not a surprise and he will play like a man unshackled (and is also my tip to take the GJ at Augusta next April). Whilst Bjornie may be upset at his ommission, at the end of the day he only has himself to blame by not qualifying automatically. Must say I am delighted that that prima donna of the first order - Poulter - missed out. Perhaps he will learn to let his clubs do the talking.

  • 28.
  • At 12:50 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Dave wrote:

If Bjorn has been playing on the European tour all year then he has had plenty of time to qualify automatically. Clarke and Westwood are proven quality players and appear to be popular with the rest of the golfers. Bjorn has choked more than once in the past and cannot be relied on to deliver when the pressure is on.

  • 29.
  • At 12:56 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Dan wrote:

I think team morale and bonding must also have come into this decision. If Lee and Darren's inclusions mean it is easier to pick partnerships and allow previosly successful partnerships to link up once again then I think it will only do us good.
Most golfers also realise that you can be playing poorly and then lift your game when it comes to matchplay golf because you know you can allow for a few serious mistakes without destroying your whole round. I rarely worry about the current form of players going into the ryder cup. Was it not prior to Valderama that Westwood could not hit a barn door from 50 yards but then went on to play fantastically during the competition?
Regardless of what people think morale plays a huge part and this must have weighed heavily on Woozie's final choice.

  • 30.
  • At 12:59 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Martyn Brown wrote:

Captaincy skills. Woosie worries me on team-building and the lead up to getting to the K-Club. I have no complaints on his wild-card picks, he has done what he has felt to be the right thing in his mind, so no one can criticise him over that.
His press conference was edgy and this edgyness will transfer to the team camp. Tom Lehman's positive upbeat persona and Tiger's recent acceptance of the team-bonding aspect is going to be a big difference this time around. I hope Woosie can hold it all together! it's a massive man management task.
If I was betting hard cash it hurts me to say I would have to put it on the USA this time around.

  • 31.
  • At 01:00 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Iain wrote:

Everyones is feeling sorry for Bjorn but I'm 100% behind Woosie's choice.

For starters, Clarke, Westwood and Bjorn should be qualifying by themselves. (Clarke's situation a bit different thou).

Bjorn has had some serious metal issues in the last few seasons when put under pressure and there's no bigger pressure than the Ryder cup.

Also Westwood is a proven Ryder Cup hero as he's been out of form leading up the the last few but performed extremly well.

As for Clarke - world number 22, enough said.

  • 32.
  • At 01:01 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Sean wrote:

I'm more worried about Paul McGinley who has only scrapped his way into the team... he's not playing well at all. The same goes for Westwood. And how can Darren Clarke possibly be "match-fit"??

Then there's Jose Olazabal... that guy doesn't seem terribly bothered about the Ryder Cup at all. He was happy enough to risk not qualifying for the team by not playing this past few weeks... oh because he was "tired".

I'm afraid if Europe are to win the Ryder Cup this year then once again we are going to have to perform better than the sum of our parts.

  • 33.
  • At 01:11 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Thomas wrote:

Is it a european team or a British team ? Woosie picks a english (Westwood) and an Irish (Clarke) player, and also two British vice-captains (an english... and an Irish). A British "mafia" is heading the European Tour. That's why Olazabal has chosen to play in America. Björn was better than Westwood in every aspects (Order of merit, RC rankings, last qualifying tournament, world ranking), apart from "history". I'm not only chocked by this wild card. I think the captain could have choice at least once continental vice-captain (what about Parnevik, Levet, Rocca, Jimenez....). We'll have only two Spanish and two Swedish as non British citizen. Does it suits you, captain ?

  • 34.
  • At 01:15 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Andy Bailey wrote:

Horses for courses !!

What memories does Bjorn have of the 17th at the K club ? How many of his golf balls are in the Liffey ?

Westwood has proved himself at the venue and go back 2 years and see the transformation in his form from really struggling prior to the Ryder Cup to star performance under pressure. He can lift himself and the team.

No point in moaning about McGinleys selection now. Thats the process Europe uses and he is in on merit. But, yes, his form is a concern - I just hope the Irish support lifts him.

I agree with the comments re the captain. There is potential for his manner to create disharmony. How can a captain be undecided until an hour before his selection deadline ??

  • 35.
  • At 01:20 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Rob Mannel wrote:

I haven't got a problem with Westwood being picked. He has an excellent record at the K Club. My only concern is that Woosnam didn't know who his pick would be until just before the press conference. Surely he should have been sure in his mind before that point. Let's hope he's more decisive with his pairings.

  • 36.
  • At 01:21 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Dave wrote:

whats all the fuss about. its blatantly the right choice. there's no favour for brits over the rest of europe. europeans have always played an important part and will continue to do so. i think we have the strongest team possible against the americans weakest team possible. the experience in our team is awesome and i believe we will win, though not as convincingly as last time. its gonna be great.

  • 37.
  • At 01:23 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Alan Winwood wrote:

I'm glad that 2 British players have been chosen. The captain's picks should always be British - originally it was our competition after all, not Europe's. In fact, let's go back to GB v USA, as it used to be. Each European team contains 8 or 9 home players anyway, so we are strong enough on our own to match the Americans. Last time, with 9 British players, we won overwhelmingly - so we can do it. Let's have our own team back.

  • 38.
  • At 01:24 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Dermot wrote:

I have to strongly disagree with Paul Gibson comments re Padraig Harrington:

"It's time for the likes of Padraig Harrington to live up to their reputations and not, once again, fall by the wayside when things get tough "

Harringtons record in the Ryder Cup is as follows :

P12 W7 H1 L4.

If you analyse even further He has won six of his last seven games so Paul when things get tough you can be sure Padraig will be standing tall and proud.

  • 39.
  • At 01:24 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • ken Skates wrote:

On paper the European team is extremely strong and, uniquely in recent Ryder Cups, we will field fewer rookies than the US. Having said that, the emotional pressure Clarke will be under is enormous. It could carry him through the competition will gusto and passion, or if the going gets tough early on it could lead him to collapse under the strain. This is likely to be an immense test of character for him, but if he pulls through the challenege he will be a hero. It should also takes some of the sting out of the competitivenes, which in some recent cups has been excesive.
Selecting Clarke is a gamble, whereas Westwood's inclusion is better justified. His foursome/fourball record is outstanding and he suits the course.
Personally, I think only the replacement of McGinley by Bjorn would give the team optimum strength, but what will be more important is which of the two captains offer the greater leaderhip.

  • 40.
  • At 01:25 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Trish Fryer wrote:

The fact is that Woosnam had to make a decision. Thomas Bjorn is unlucky but there are a number of factors in the Clarke/Westwood selections.
Clarke is on home ground with massive Irish support and he is in the World Top 25.
Westwood has a good Ryder Cup record but he also a K Club specialist having won at the venue twice.
And Carl Petterson - perhaps his record deserved a look, but I doubt that Ian Woosnam would have lost much sleep.

  • 41.
  • At 01:31 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Bo Laursen wrote:

“Lee has won tournaments around the world, he got 4½ points out of five two years ago and he has won twice at the K Club,” Woosnam said. “That was sufficient for me to go for him.”.
So why didn't he tell everyone this when he was named captain?
Or at least announce it before the BMW International tournement, as the result from this did not matter for Woosnam at all!
Would this not be what you would expect from a captain?
Wildcards can be used to pick players who have been unable to compete in all the ranking events, but between players who all have been part of the ranking events you simply have to go by ranking.

  • 42.
  • At 01:33 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • James Fitzgerald wrote:

They are all top quality players; in terms of difference in performance it is hard to split them. Therefore it comes down to who Woosnam knows and trusts, who he can motivate, and who can help to create the best team spirit. Being British himself, the likelihood is that he knows Westwood and Clarke better than Bjorn, and certainly Petterson. The accusations of Nepotism are not unfounded, but I feel that a European captain would most likely pick a more European team as well. Unfortunately that is human nature.

  • 43.
  • At 01:52 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Alan Kendall wrote:

Whilst I feel sorry for Bjorn based on his recent form I can't help feeling that he has earned a bit of a reputation as a choker, and that's the last trait you want in a Ryder Cup situation. Given the choice between TB and Lee Westwood who despite not living up to his full potential can pull out the stops on the big occasion, I think Woosie has got it right. Also it will help Darren Clarke (who you could not imagine being overlooked)immensely to have those he's closest to on the tour around him.

Agree entirely with all the comments about Poulter. Perhaps when he starts thinking more about what's wrong with his game rather than which dress he's going to wear, he might shape up to be a force, but not until then I fancy.

  • 44.
  • At 01:54 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Daz wrote:

"British" unity isn't as strong as many of previous posters would like to think. There is a substantial rivalry between England, Scotland and Wales and I would be surprised if a Welshman would pick an Englishman over a Dane if there was not a valid reason to do so.

  • 45.
  • At 01:57 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • mark haydon wrote:

I can't believe all the moaning ninnies - Woosie is Captain and he picks who HE thinks is going to give Europe the best chance to win. There's more to that than this years form. . . ONE of the reasons europe keeps winning this event despite higher US ranked competition is TEAM CHEMISTRY... Woosie wins or loses on his calls ... that's what Captains are for. Get over it people.... Incidently I watched Bjorn at Firestone for about 3 holes - his game was badly off... no idea if that is a recent trend or just my timing.

  • 46.
  • At 02:12 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Bunky wrote:

I agree with David Kidd. I believe any problems with the European bid this time around may stem from the moment Woosie was appointed.
I don't believe he has the right approach or attitude to bring the best out of players. Langer's preparation was meticulous, and although many of us raised eyebrows at the time, he was ultimately proved correct with his selections and pairings.
He will rise or fall on the back of his two wildcard selections, but one wonders how the perceived pro-UK stance will go down with continental Europeans, who may feel bitter about the way Bjorn has been overlooked.

Bunky B

  • 47.
  • At 02:17 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Roo Youngman wrote:

I seem to remember two years ago everyone was moaning about Langer's captaincy right up to the time that he led Europe to its biggest ever win against the US.
This pro-British bias with regard to picking wildcards simply isn't borne out by the facts. Garcia (Spain) was a captain's pick in 2002 along with Parnevik (Sweden), who was aslo a pick in 1999 and 1997. Olazabal (Spain) was a pick in 1995 and 1993 (along with Ballesteros (Spain) and Haeggman (Sweden)).

I agree that the European Qualification system needs to be overhauled. It is usual for "Trends of Form" to happen through a season and Lee Westwood should not even be on the horizon with regards to selection. I understand that Bjorn is feeling very aggrieved at the discicion which in his current form is understandable. Woosnam has created a problem that need not have happened

  • 49.
  • At 02:47 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Steve wrote:

I believe that Woosie has made the right choice in Westwood. He has a proven track record in matchplay. I have doubts about Bjorn's mental strength in matchplay.

Although he is one of my favourite players, I do have doubts about whether Darren Clarke is truly ready to play top level golf yet. I would have prefered to see him play a PGA tornament 1st.

  • 50.
  • At 03:27 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Paul Chappell wrote:

Doesn't anybody remember Thomas Bjorn's finish to the European Open at the K Club in 2005. He shot 11 on the 17th (71st Hole) and threw away a four shot lead. He ended up shooting 86 and left the course in a tie for 36th citing the demons in his head!

His problem with the K-Club extended to this year when he didn't even enter this year's tournament.

Surely its horses for courses. Thomas Bjorn is a great player and I admire him immensely but this venue just does not suit him. If the Ryder Cup was being played anywhere else I think he would have been justified in being disappointed at not being picked.

By the way, put your money on the Americans - I really think they mean business this year!!

  • 51.
  • At 03:35 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • The hacker wrote:

I can't understand Thomas Bjorn's complaint about not getting selected.

On the World list; Petterson,Edfors,Broadhurst and Poulter are above Bjorn
and on the European List
Edfors and Broadhurst are above him.

Indeed on the World list Clarke and Westwood rank above him.

It must have been a difficult decision for Woosnam, but lets get behind the team now.

The Americans will be loving this!!!!

  • 52.
  • At 03:35 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Andrew Smith wrote:

Nobody not even Thomas Bjorn has the right to complain about Woosie's choices. Anyone who fails to make the top ten should go back to the practise ground. The rules are simple, there is a period for qualification where performance is the principle consideration, its black and white you make the team or you do not. After that the captain takes over, period. This is the first time in a long time we are clear favorites and be sure this reaction is typical of teams destined to fail. We need to rally behind our team those who earned it and those who were requested to join by the captain.

  • 53.
  • At 03:51 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Phil wrote:

Put your toys back into your pram Mr. Bjorn! They are called captains, or wildcard picks for a reason!

  • 54.
  • At 03:52 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • dangary wrote:

Thought bjorn was a bit unlucky not to be picked, but there is no need for him to go greetin about it. If he had been such a good player he would have qualified automatically

  • 55.
  • At 03:57 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • fergal wrote:

i think woosnam has made the right choice in his two wildcard one can argue with westy and sergio as an excellent pairing in both the fourballs and the foursomes. then theres clarke who has gone around in 60 at the k club. and i don't think the k club would be one of bjorns favourite courses. remember the european open a few years back when thomas did a "tin cup" on it on 16 or 17 to throw away a title!!!

  • 56.
  • At 03:59 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Paul wrote:

For all the people saying that Westwoods experience etc does not count for anything and it should be based on rankings alone.

Did they express the same opinions on the last wild cards, or at the end of the day were they pleased Monty and Luke Donald were selected?

  • 57.
  • At 04:00 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Barry Walsh wrote:

I'm amazed at Thomas Bjorn's hot-headed reaction. Sour grapes or what?
I think Woosnam's choice of Westwood over Bjorn is totally valid, given Bjorn's well publicised confidence problems. Sour grapes if you ask me

Then again, I'm worried about Woosnam. Making his second wild card choice just moments before the press conference isn't the hallmark of a great captain - nor is letting them find out be looking at the news.

I'm worried that he could be another Mark James. Langer should have taken a second bite of the cherry, given his unbelieveable success last time

  • 58.
  • At 04:00 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • michael J L wrote:

It is just a pity that Bjorn has taken the disappointment of his omission so badly. If you don't qualify automatically you cannot complain about being left out. Being as openly critical of Woosnam as Bjorn has been today, including questioning his leadership abilities just before the Ryder Cup only detracts from Bjorn's standing as a sportsman and as a person. He would be better advised to do what Poulter has done, keep quiet and be determined to play his way into the team next time.

  • 59.
  • At 04:02 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Nick wrote:

I can't understand how Thomas Bjorn can be so upset that he has not made the ryder cup team. He knew the selection process from the beginning. If he wanted to be in the team he should have made sure he qualified, such as changes to the events he played in. What arrogance to think he would be an automatic captains pick. If a player is picked as a captains pick he should be grateful for the opportnity to play, if you are not picked the only person you can blame is yourself. I had a great deal of respect for Thomas before this, now I have none.

  • 60.
  • At 04:03 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • GS wrote:

I think Bjorn was unfortunate not to have been selected but feel his criticism of the Captain should have been left until after the competition. I think his comments lack professionalism and do nothing to help the team.
Lee Westwood is lucky to get in ahead of Bjorn but I think that he thrives in this competition and has the temperament that is needed.

  • 61.
  • At 04:03 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Frank Sanders wrote:

While I do not have a problem with Woosie's picks, (his choices were always going to be difficult), I have a real problem with how he is handling the captain's role. I listened with interest to his interview and was left with the distinct impression he has no real plan, lacks any form of basic management skills (I cannot believe he didn't speak to any of the disappointed before the announcement) and seems to be relying on what he calls his experience and inspirational leadership. Sorry but I have not seen any evidence of this, and after Bjorn's perhaps understanable outburst, the USA must now be massive favourites.

  • 62.
  • At 04:04 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Jose Kelly wrote:

Wildcard selections are a moot point.
Europe's defeat at the K Club was destined when Ian Woosnam was named captain.
In recent years he showed on more than one occasion that he could not even manage his own caddie, never mind a group of professionals.
Bjorn has claimed there has been little or no communication from Woosie throughout the season to all players.
In contrast, Tom Lehman has won the respect of all the US players who were competing for a place in his team. His team-building exercise last week underlines the fact that Lehman and his players are organised and committed to victory.
I hope I am wrong.

  • 63.
  • At 04:07 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Steve F wrote:

Bjorn's comments underscore why he was not selected - bad-mouthing the captain and the successful selectee, solely because of personal disappointment, reveals a lack of character and team spirit the European team can well do without.

  • 64.
  • At 04:08 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • scott greaves wrote:

Have all the Thomas Bjorn fan club gone completely nuts.This is a guy who has thrown away more tournaments than i care to remember eg his famous bunker escapade at open a few years back.
Westwood is a big game player with a big heart...good choice captain.

  • 65.
  • At 04:09 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Brian cooper wrote:

The USA had Sutton, we've got Woosnam!!

  • 66.
  • At 04:16 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • billy betts wrote:

Although I agree with the captains choices my concerns are with the way Ian Woosnam handled the press conference he appeared confused and out of his depth to the point it was embarrasing to watch .To admit that he had only just made up his mind about his second choice was I am sure an obvious sign of poor management that Tom Lehman will be encouraged by ,one would expect a Ryder cup captain to have at least spoken to all players concerned prior to the press conference however he did not and I think Ian will now have a battle to gain the full respect of his team .

  • 67.
  • At 04:17 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Ian Goose wrote:

Why bother having captains picks if we just go on any other ranking system? The captains chioce is there for exceptional circumstances, or maybe a bit of off form leading to the cup. Bjorn had the same opportunities as everyone else to get in the team, Woosie has made his choice on who will best benefit the team and he will have to stand by that, only time will tell. Bjorn, Petterson, Jimenez, Poltuer etc. can maybe count themselves unlucky but they all start at the same place so can have no complaints if they didn't get into the top 10 by right.

By the way, wasn't Monty a wildcard in 2004 when in the lead up his game was in the gutter?

  • 68.
  • At 04:18 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • John Winnik wrote:

I think the reason for Woosie's pick is quite obvious. When the event comes it makes his pairings a lot more simplistic and I dont think he will lose much slep over them.
He will keep the nationalities together with the two Scandinavians, the two Spanish the two Irish then the big buddies Westwood Clarke and finally the 3 English players with Monty who lets face it can play with anyone.

  • 69.
  • At 04:18 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • DJ wrote:

It's all about who has bottle and Bjorn has clearly demonstrated on several occasions he's lacking. Bjorn v's Westwood at Matchplay - you'd back Westwood every time.

  • 70.
  • At 04:19 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • jb wrote:

although i'm not a big fan of woosnam and his 'man management, i have to say bjorn is out of order by going public with his views however relevant they may be - i don't think it will help the team. this time with woosie at the helm i think we'll need all the help and support to win, thank god he's only incharge for 1 cup!

  • 71.
  • At 04:19 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Dave Jones wrote:

Woosnam, does need to communicate, and he has failed to keep everybody in the loop.

Bjorn, has been involved as both a player, and a vice captain in resent times. He worked closely with Langer.

Woosnam should read Torrances biography, and speak to Langer. Both won in two different ways. Torrrance from stacking the order, and Langer from sound strategic planning.

He has to be very careful, as half the battle is strategic, and the US seems to be ahead. It was vitally important that Woods and Micklelson where at the K club.

  • 72.
  • At 04:19 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • G. J. Higgins wrote:

It was never GB v USA.
Though I'd say you enjoyed Tony Jacklin overlooking the Irish in 1985.
Or do you think Ireland is still part of your "Great" Britain?
There were seven, not 9, British players last time.
McGinley and Harrington are from the Republic of Ireland, Clarke is British.

  • 73.
  • At 04:23 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Tony Perkins wrote:

I think that Bjorn should have kept his counsel until after the Ryder Cup. What would happen now if there were to be an injury (remember Olazabal) after he has stated that he will not speak to the Captain. I am sure that if Westwood had been left out then he would not have been as vitriolic in his attack on the Captain. In any event I think that Johan Edfors has been far better than Bjorn as has Carl Petterson.

  • 74.
  • At 04:25 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Tim Smith wrote:

Following Bjorns theory re rankings, then Edfors and Broadhurst would be selected.

He wasn't in the Top 10, and so left himself open to not being selected. Performance counts.

  • 75.
  • At 04:30 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Chris Byrne wrote:

Can people stop this British bias thing. Ireland is not in Britain and the Captain picked players who he thought will retain the cup for us.
Dont worry about McGinley he will come good on home turf and home support and will be an inspiration to other players.

  • 76.
  • At 04:34 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • dare2win wrote:

People are going on a bit about Bjorn "choking" in the 2003 Open and using this as a reason for picking Westwood ahead of him, but at least he has put himself in the position to be in serious contention at the Open. I'm under the impression that Westwood is in a "comfort zone". A slightly above average journeyman who will never be in serios contention on a Sunday afternoon in a major.

  • 77.
  • At 04:35 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Robin wrote:

I am a little surprised by Bjorn's comments after failing to be picked. Colin Montgomerie said 2 years ago after he was picked, that it was an awful experience and one that he did not want to be in again. However, if the reports of the lack of contact between Woosnam and the potential players are true, I can see why he is disappointed. I said at the time that Woosnam does not have the people skills of a Torrance or Langer and this just backs it up. Tom Lehman seems to have got it right......I fear for the outcome now even though we are strong on paper.

  • 78.
  • At 04:37 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Barry Heden wrote:

Thomas has had two years to qualify. If he thinks he deserves a spot above Paul McGinley or Jose-Maria Olazabal he should have played better in the qualifying tournaments. The rules are the same for everyone.

  • 79.
  • At 04:37 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Peter N wrote:

Before Mr Bjorn starts complaining, perhaps he should try something more direct, like qualifying by right for the top 10. The Captain's pick is just that - the type of player that who will bring most to the team both on and off the course in the Captain's opinion. Surely a real pro and team player would be wishing Lee and the team the best of luck?

  • 80.
  • At 04:38 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Mark Kidger wrote:

The Ryder Cup selection procedure is always being updated. This time it has been changed to take into acount form in US tour events because too many players were struggling to play enough European events to qualify. However, no system is perfect.

The sad fact of life is that there were ten automatic spots available and players had two ways of getting into them. If a player does not qualify he takes his chances.

Neither Thomas Björn nor Lee Westwood were "good enough" to get into the team on form over the last year and thus avoid this problem. When that happens the captain has to rely on intuition as much as anything to decide who to go with. The Ryder Cup is so unlike a normal strokeplay tournament that normal rules have to go by the board.

If we believed the World rankings Europe would have been anihilated last time out. Match play though relies on character, personality, self-belief, determination and teamwork as much as skill (check Tiger Wood's Ryder Cup record).

When you have to choose between Thomas Björn and Lee Westwood for the last spot, a lot of it is down to a gut feeling about who might do best when the chips are down. Let's hope Ian Woosnam has called it right and Europe wins again.

  • 81.
  • At 04:39 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Scott wrote:

When Woosie and Lehman were first announced as captains i posted my concerns that Lehman was a much more prominent figure posessing the required leadship skills to captain a successful team and
nothing Woosnam has done to date has relayed those fears.

Good luck to the European team i think this is going to be the toughest contest in years.

  • 82.
  • At 04:42 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • David Langley wrote:

Westwood or Bjorn - both have a case as has been noted.
Clarke in or out - again reason for both but glad he's in.
But what only a few have pointed out is the captains role in all of this.
Woosie looked like a rabbit in headlights at the press conference and like quite a few of us I just worry that that he may cause our downfall. At the end of the day, its 12 world class golfers on each side (and yes that includes the USA rookies). Its ALL about motivation and getting the right pairings. Out on the course anyone can beat anyone.
Having said that heres hoping we laud Woosie just like we had a chuckle at Hal.

  • 83.
  • At 04:47 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Richard wrote:

Thomas Bjorn has not got a leg to stand on. I am not Woosams biggest fan, but the qualification process shows form over a period of time and over that time, Bjorn did not make it in. I think that if someone were to feel aggrieved it would be Johan Edfors, he has been on fire this year and did not make the team. Bjorn should just play better over the longer period. We have a team with a couple of rookies in it, and Woosnam wanted to balance the side out with winning Ryder Cup experience, and ensure he had ready made partnerships. Wildcards are for balance and dynamics, not for the first in line. Thomas should grow up and take the decision like a man and accept it gracefully, be annoyed in private and graceful in public.

  • 84.
  • At 04:47 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Andy Hull wrote:

I can't say that I'm particularly surprised by Ian Woosnam's wildcard choices given the history of the successful partnerships in the Ryder Cup and Westwood's respectable matchplay record.
I do feel for Bjorn and would no doubt be bitterley disappointed if I were in his place (if only!!) but his comments do seem slightly harsh on Woosnam.
Let's put any furore behind us and wish a heartfelt good luck to the whole team.

  • 85.
  • At 04:48 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • batty wrote:

its a disgrace that westwood got in before bjorn

  • 86.
  • At 04:55 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • will wrote:

Woosie has chosen correctly.

Westwood has an excellent Ryder Cup record. He has managed to forge some great partnerships over the years, namely with Clark and Garcia. When he gets the putter going he is deadly and his short iron play is second to none - two vital components for the Ryder Cup.

No player should moan about not getting in the team via a wildcard, they have ample time to qualify automatically and a player of Bjorn's quality should of earned his place in the team outright.

I think the Euro team looks strong. Granted USA have Tiger, Di Marco, Phil and Furyk.
But they don't have Monty!!

C'mon the Europe!!!

  • 87.
  • At 04:56 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Michael Boye Hansen wrote:

Ofcourse woosnam preferres a british player in favor of a dane. Bjorn has over the period done a significant better job than Westwood. Bjorn truly have some greatness in his play and has been close to win majors. Expect from the last few months westwood have been totally gone !

From a dissapointed dane !!

  • 88.
  • At 04:56 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Graham Gilbert wrote:

Ian Woosnam has done what a Captain needs to do - make decisions. So he has past the first test. He will have more testing ones to make with regard to partnerships and order of play in three weeks time. Let's hope he is as pragmatic then.
Sorry Thomas, but you should grow up and take the news on the chin and wish the team good luck.

  • 89.
  • At 04:58 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Steve P wrote:

I just get the feeling that Woosnam does not have the presence, respect and charisma of Sam Torrence or Bernhard Langer (or Tom Lehman). I don't think Woosnam is a born leader who will get the best out of his team and he is struggling with the vitally necessary communication skills.
I begin to fear that he might be out smarted by Tom Lehman who is respected by all of his players.

  • 90.
  • At 05:02 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Ezequiel wrote:

Monty, be carefull with your comments, once again your tounge is bigger than your brain.Ollie is one the the biggest proffesoinals on the tour,you shouldn't say that, also because as he made the team, you will have to look him at the eyes.
One of the biggest secrets of the European team is the union of the group,Monty don't you think that with that type of comments you are blowing everything up? And the last thing, Ollie won two majors, and has one of the best Ryder cup records in history, a couple of years ago he was 130 on the world ranking , now he is top 20, is that enough.Plaese Colin, play golf, retain the cup, and shut up!!!! Be a better companion.

  • 91.
  • At 05:08 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • pete wrote:

Bjorn has properly annoyed me with these comments. deal with it baby-boy, if you haven't gone enough to play your way into the team and you don't get on with the captain (what it seems from the way he's talking about Woosie) then how can you expect to get picked in the pairings. Woosie may have felt that Bjorn's intense, stifling over-egotistic approach where he thinks he's learned it all by being vice-captain in 2004 would overshadow him as captain. And I agree that when the chips are really down and he really needs to come to the fore (even when he's playing his best) he tends to choke. Westwood seems to be able to play the best possible golf under pressure at the highest moments, even when his game is off.

  • 92.
  • At 05:11 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Chipper wrote:

Mr Winwood's comments about getting back to US vs GB seem to conveniently forget the many years when it was a non-event because GB never won, or even came close. We would never have had the Seve/Olly partnership and all the wonderful memories they gave us. Does anyone think it would be a better event this year without, say, Garcia?

I agree with all those who say that Bjorn has let himself down with his comments although I have not read them in full. Does anyone have a link to the entire interview?

  • 93.
  • At 05:11 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Geraint John wrote:

I may be criticised for saying this but I find Bjorn's comments ridiculous. Don't get me wrong, I think it must have been a close call between the two of them and anyone's bound to be gutted BUT:

Bjorn is saying that he should be ahead of Westwood because he finished higher than Westwood in the rankings. In the same rankings there are another two guys ahead of Bjorn.

So by Bjorn's rationale, Woosnam should have ignored the rankings when it came to the two guys ahead of Bjorn, but taken them into account with anyone below Bjorn!!! Seems like crazy double standards and I hope that he retracts his comments in due course as I always thought he had a lot more class than that.

For my money, I would have taken Westwood too. Pure and simple he is one of the best matchplay golfers in the world. The ability to play in a pairing and so make birdies is more important than consistency over 4 rounds - as has been shown many many times over the years. Westwood's iron play opens up so many birdie hances and as such Westwood is worth the shot.

  • 94.
  • At 05:12 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • William Higgins wrote:

I think Chris Mann (comment 20) hits the nail right on the head! Thomas (whom I love dearly) had a melt down at the K Club and it would have been bound to come back and haunt him coming down the stretch.

  • 95.
  • At 05:15 PM on 04 Sep 2006,


  • 96.
  • At 05:19 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Lynne wrote:

Jacklin - innovated, changed the way the team felt about themselves (Concord, quality uniforms etc)
Gallagher - continued the trend, listened, learned and further developed the team feeling and spirit.
Ballesteros - all passion and drive but thorough in preparation (17th fairway at V'ama and change of order of 4ball and 4somes)
James - poorly devised strategy
Torrance - lived the Ryder Cup for 12 months talked to everyone, invloved everyone, listened to peers outside the insular golf village.
Langer - prepared and planned again and again and communicated with his team
Woosie - 'we'll meet on Monday night and do what we have always done'. It seems little planning, limited communication, poor leadership.

If I could chose a wldcard captain then I would chose Lehman ,he is miles ahead of Europe on PR and team building. If captains make a difference then Europe are in trouble.

The most telling thing was the body language of those from the PGA and European Tour on the top table, at the press conference. They looked embarassed to be there and hardly supporting of 'their choice' of captain.

Let's hope the players can make up for the weak captain, but I fear this may not be enough.

  • 97.
  • At 05:20 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Conor wrote:

I have to say Bjorn's admission is disappointing. The reasons given for Westwood's inclusion do not stand up. For a start the K-Club has changed considerably since he won on the course so that reason is a red herring. It is ominous that Woosnam agonized so much over these decisions. This is not encouraging as he will have a number of critical decisions to make during the event. I can't see the 2 Vice Captains being strenuous critics, I think he picked sychophants for his Vice Captains. The team seems wriven with dissent, Ollie and Monty, for example, and the perception has been assisted that there is a bias against players from the continent. As an Irishman much as I am delighted to see 3 Irishmen in the team (Europe has never won without an Irishman present) I question the merits of Clarke's inclusion. Woosnam did make one good decision though: not to let Mark James have anything to do with the team. Tom Lehnam is no Hal Sutton and may have the edge over Woosnam.

  • 98.
  • At 05:21 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Mike Harrison wrote:

Irrespective of whether Bjorn or Westwood was picked, Bjorn should have kept his mouth shut and got behind the team. To attempt, deliberately it seems, to undermine the captain, is regrettable and he could have prevented all this by winning an automatic slot! I feel the USA achilles heel will be the number of rookies. Same can't be said of European team and I think we will win it as a consequence.If I'd had a choice I would have dropped McGinley (not that this is an option of course) who looks a dithering wreck and picked Bjorn and Westwood!

  • 99.
  • At 05:22 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Michael Boye Hansen wrote:

Several writers have questioned Bjorns menthal strenght referring to his bunkerplay in British Open a few years ago. Bjorn has a fantastic menthal strenght. He shows no sign of nerveosness but play agressively. If his bunkershot at the open had been a few inches longer he had won the open. He went for it but got unlucky. For a man that has won so many tournaments don´t question his menthal strength - he is a brave golfer that plays aggresively and goes for victory and not top 10 finishes !!!

  • 100.
  • At 05:34 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • John wrote:

Oh dear Thomas - I really do hope you have not vented your anger as has been reported by the BBC. I understand your frustration and huge disappointment, but not like this please. Woosnam made his very close decision and that's that.

I do have a concern though - I have always totally respected Ian Woosnam as a player and major winner, but I have been worried ever since he was appointed Captain and his press conference did not fill me with confidence either. With the greatest respect to him, I do fear that he does not posess the tactical interlect and nowse to carry this huge resonsibility through in the manner of Bernard Langer/Sam Torrance and others.

The Europe team has survived and triumphed in recent years because of outstanding captaincy, massive team spirit and talent in recent years.

Wish you all the best Woosie, I hope you can prove me totally wrong.

  • 101.
  • At 05:36 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Stefan Harris-Wright wrote:

Clarke will rise to the occasion. What greater motivation to succeed than the desire to honour the memory of a loved one. He has the ability and the mettle to be a major contributor to Europe's cause.

As for Westwood v Bjorn, it was an easy decision. Bjorn is class but Westy is a bit like Monty in that he can raise his game to another level for the team cause. Unlucky to Bjorn but I hope he keeps his sour grapes to a minimum to avoid undermining Europe's prospects further.

Good luck lads!

  • 102.
  • At 05:44 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Philip Houghton wrote:

Time will judge Ian Woosnam's captaincy skills but so far I'm less than impressed. It is not inspiring to hear that he has had little rapport with his players and to have left it to the 11th hour to decide on his picks.
In my view the form of playes on a particular Sunday afternoon isn't particularly incisive.
To have Thomas and Lee managed in such a way shows a lack of sensitivity to the players. If this continues I fear we will have a Hal Suttonesque show at the K Club.
I'm hoping Ian steps up his game and engages the chaps quickly - and mends the bridges with Thomas and others who have been treated less than professionally.

  • 103.
  • At 05:46 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Jon wrote:

Bjorn is showing his true me-me-me colours. He should shut his mouth, get behind the team, and start asking himself why he wasn't good enough to qualify before. Perhaps his mental problems (alleged) are the reason that Woosnam didn't pick him. And anyone that witnessed him do a tin cup in the Scottish Open (I think) when he stuck what felt like a dozen in the water in succession might no think it is such a bad thing. There are PLENTY of the USA team that could have said they deserved to be picked ahead of Cink and Verplank but they have showed common courtesy and decency and shut their mouths. He can do what he likes afterwards but we don't need it now.

  • 104.
  • At 05:46 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Richard Byrne wrote:

What amazes me is that the decision on the two final places falls to one man. It will always smack of croneyism until the best 12 European golfers, vis-a-vis their position in the world standings, are selected. At least his would spare us reactions like Bjorn's. The way Woosnam has handled the affair has me even more convinced that the Americans will wipe the floor with the Europeans this time around.

  • 105.
  • At 05:46 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Ian wrote:

Woosie appears to be fast becoming a love-hate figure.
The captains obviously have a lot to answer for with regards to organisation, motivation, and pairing selection. However, its more down to the players to win the matches once selected.
Sutton was more undone by the poor showing of his millionaire golfers rather than his selections.
Woosie isnt the most eloquent guy in the world but deserves his chance without the pre-match bickering.
Bjorn should get back in his pram as previous commentors have indicated.

  • 106.
  • At 05:48 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Simon Cooke wrote:

Oooo, I'm enjoying this...the "rage" by Bjorn towards Woosnam & Langer helping/talking to Lehman. Hopefully, there will be more in-fighting with the European team & they'll self-destruct before a ball is hit in anger at the K Club. Golf is, always has been & always will be an individual sport. Like Michael Johnson said about the relay victory papering over the real state of UK athletics, a Ryder Cup victory will only paper over the fact that no European has won a major for a very long time. Looking forward to an upset American victory !

  • 107.
  • At 05:49 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Bob Simpson wrote:

I definitely think that Woosnam's choice is to do with Bjorn's temperament when the pressure is on, he choked in the Open there is no doubt about it but Westwood plays better when under pressure.
Bjorn's comments should have been made to Woosnam's face and been kept between them, not through the media.

  • 108.
  • At 06:03 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • M. Page wrote:

The Ryder Cup has much less to do with current form than team spirit, leadership and desire to win. USA's abject performance two years ago demonstrates this perfectly. So, whilst I have no problem with Westwood's selection I have a serious concern about Woosnam's captaincy. He does not seem to be showing any real leadership and he had better get his act together soon because Lehman isn't putting a foot wrong.

  • 109.
  • At 06:04 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • stabulum wrote:

Looking at the comments it's easy to see that this is a british blog! We can only hope that the next captain will be non british.

I also followed the scandinavian blogs and they are furious about the wild cards decision!

It's not only Bjorn. What about Edfors?

Woosnam has not been talking to Edfors, Bjorn, Karlsson and Stenson in the last 6 month! Is that the british way to nurse potentiel Ryder Cup players?

  • 110.
  • At 06:09 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • D W Roberts wrote:

I don't agree with the way Woosnam handled the players who missed out - he should have let Bjorn, Broadhurst, Petterson et al know of his decision before the press conferece. However, Bjorn's attack on Woosnam is totally out of order.

People also tend to forget how much Langer was criticised before Oak Hills - victory cures all ills and will with Woosnam.

My own take is - Woosnam doesn't seem to believe the players need chiding or enouraging to make the team - representing your country / continent should be enough motivation. That is where we have always had the edge on the Americans and no amount of bonding will replace that intangible.

Woosnam's own desire to play and represent Europe in the event was / is obvious and I guess his attitude would be 'if you need me to tell you to make the team then you shouldn't be in it'. You shouldn't need encouraging to represent your country and this is no different.

These guys are professionals - they should be busting a gut to make the team regardless of how much / little interaction the Captain has had with them. I'm not saying this approach is correct and it wouldn't be how I would do it but I'm just trying to rationalise what he has done.

I believe Woosie will make a good Captain. Sure, he lacks the PR skills and he has left himself open for some flak with the way he has handled the players who missed out but no-one can deny his passion for the Ryder Cup. I would bet a fair few pounds that once the players all get together they will all get behind the team and Woosnam, regardless of such goings-on.

  • 111.
  • At 06:21 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Kalyan Pokala wrote:

Leaving Bjorn out for an inferior choice isn't that shocking. But replacing him with a guy because he won at the course 6 years ago is.

Current form. Thank God Woosman doesn't select players for England's football squad, we'd still be getting great performances by Emile Heskey.

  • 112.
  • At 06:24 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • drew mack wrote:

Bjorn may be a nice guy with many friends but Westwood is a real team man who thrives on the banter and thrill of team combat. Also with all hes been through can you imagine Darren Clarke in this years Ryder Cup team without Lee Westwood - I can't.

  • 113.
  • At 06:29 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Tony Lambley wrote:

Well said Mark Kidger! The Ryder Cup is about picking a captain, giving him 10 automatic selections and 2 wildcards. Thomas Bjorn may feel aggrieved, but he hasn't done enough to merit an automatic spot. Woosie has rationalised his wildcard picks - I don't doubt that Bjorn is a higher ranked player than Westwood, but is he a better player at the K Club? I just hope that Darren Clarke can raise his game sufficiently after the terrible experience he has gone through. Is Woosie looking like a good captain - lets wait till the Sunday evening. Fingers crossed, he will be!

  • 114.
  • At 06:42 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Gary Dow wrote:

Its not a big surprise really re Lee being included. He has a great history in the ryder cup and with darren make a formidable pairing. Ian should have told the players beforehand of his decision though to gain respect. For players to find out 3rd hand is poor leadership. USA will be a stern test and I hope Bjorn can be taken as back up.

  • 115.
  • At 06:47 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Kevin wrote:

One can only imagine the dissapointment that Thomas Bjorn must be feeling at not getting picked.

That said to come out and undermine the captain within 12hours is not exactly the 'ideal' preperation that the European Team deserves.

No doubt that he feels upset, but he should reflect that his attach on the captain may not be in the best intrest of the team. And if he had been picked, would he still be so critical of the captain and his methods.

His reaction is a little dissapointing.

  • 116.
  • At 06:47 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Johnson wrote:

It's indeed funny to read all the comments supporting the choice of Lee W. Yes he once did the well at the K Club, but the guy hasn't won a tournament since 2003 and there is absolutely no sign of that changing. He has been going down the rankings since. That s why he is way behind Bjorn in the rankings.
Bjorn has won tournaments in 2005 & 2006 so all talk about best nerves should end that. Present performance clearly supports Bjorn over Westwood. Can't Ian read the figures?
No actual facts can support Ians choice, but only personal emotions.
It's very british and the americans must be laughing their pants off.

  • 117.
  • At 06:50 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • yomi omiyale wrote:

I am very disappointed with Lee Westwood's pick in the Ryder Cup by the captain, Ian Woosnam. Thomas Bjorn, I believe, deserves to be picked based on his results this season compared to Westwood's. This decision leaves the door open to a lot of criticism based on country favouritism.

  • 118.
  • At 06:53 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Keith from Glasgow wrote:

Woosnam is heading to be an awful pick as captain. His Munich press conference performance showed no leadership qualities whatsoever - a truly awful and embarrassing occasion. At the time I despaired of Europe's Ryder Cup chances - particularly given Lehman's high/ positive profile in recent weeks.

Now we have the subsequent account of his treatment of Thomas Bjorn which is simply deplorable. The choice between Clarke, Bjorn, Westwood and Petterson was always going to be difficult but Woosnam simply presents as anti-Europe - also his choice of vice captains. This will not help team spirit - just an appalling captaincy performance after the terrific standards we have been used to in Europe in recent years.

Personally, I think we should have had an Irish captain for this Ryder Cup - like Seve in Spain. Loads to choose from. Woosnam simply does not have the charisma or personality to be an effective European Ryder Cup captain - if we win, I fear it will despite him, not because of him..

This time round, automatic qualifications have dealt Europe a MUCH better team than the Americans BUT I really fear the outcome now, with Woosnam in charge...

  • 119.
  • At 06:54 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Chris Stephenson wrote:

I have to say I don't have very much sympathy for Bjorn and his outburst about the wildcard selection. It's petulant, unprofessional and does nothing to support the players who would have been his team-mates in their preparation for the tournament.

I'm not saying Westwood was the right choice, only time will tell. But Bjorn apparently fails to recognise that if he'd come in the top 10, he wouldn't have had to rely on a wildcard pick at all.

It sounds to me as though he's blaming Woosnam over this, when actually he's only got himself to blame.

  • 120.
  • At 06:57 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • kris wrote:

I think all of the comments about Ian Woosnam are totally unecessary. If any of the people above had watched Woosnam play golf over the pasy 20 years, Including 50 weeks at world Number1!, they would understand that he wears his heart on his sleeve. So what if he was deliberating up to the last minute, that is his call. At least he was honest enough to tell it how it was.

Woosnam reach the top of the game and earnt the respect of those playing with him. I see no problem with him as a captain and wish him well. I think all those so called Golf fans should get OFF him and get BEHIND him and the team. Mt Thomas Bjorn should learn some respect and some manners. Many golfers have been left out as close calls for wild cards are made, none have responded in such an unproffesional and childish way!

  • 121.
  • At 06:59 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • david leaver wrote:

mmm, not sure about this.feels like he's picked his mates.i think the captain might be the problem - and as others have said havn't seve/faldo got a great ryder cup pedigree so why not pick them?

  • 122.
  • At 07:03 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Haydn wrote:

The bottom line is Bjorn did not qualify in the top ten and therefore he has no right to complain.
Based on rankings, he would not have been the pick anyway!
The outburst from him following the selection shows what a poor teammate he would have been. I believe he will come to regret his actions should a similar situation arise in the future.
The Captains picks are just that, for him to "round out" his team to make the "team" the best it can be.
As has previously been stated, Bjorn shown an ability to choke under pressure and therefore would not be a preferred selection in the Ryder Cup arena.
Talk of "British" favouritism is laughable. First, please get your definition of British correct as Ireland is not part of Britain.
I hope Westwood performs well to silence the critics just as previous Captains selections have done in the past.

  • 123.
  • At 07:11 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • dave williams wrote:

OK Europe, stop the complaining and the blame game about the selections and get behind the team . How much motivation do to you want to give the US team - anyone offended about not being selected or consulted should grow up and think how their comments will be used against the European team.

  • 124.
  • At 07:17 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Bubsy wrote:

Who cares about Bjorn? The Ryder Cup was once GB against the USA anyway and it looks like we are returning to the mighty GB again. Come on you Brits!!!

From a "Great" Britain.

  • 125.
  • At 07:35 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Gary wrote:

Just a couple of points about our Ryder cup team, i have always belived in horses for courses, remember when Bjorn true away a huge lead at the K club in 2005, how many balls did he put in the water off the tee? And he never played there this year to try and clear the demons, and anyone with concerns about big Darren have no fear, he would not have put himself forward if he was not right. A great sportsman, player and great father, i for 1 would love to see D C hole the winning putt. Come on Europe.

  • 126.
  • At 07:41 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • greenboy wrote:

There is 2 real scandals about the entire selection process.

1)The European Tour's decision to not allow Carl Petterson to rejoin the tour mid season was a joke it caused him any points he gained from
Sept to Nov , which was alot because he won a event and was Snd in another IN THAT PERIOD ALONE..

2)Giving points for the HSBC World matchplay was a disgrace. OK they were reduced , but McGinley picked up
400,000 points I believe. YET THIS WAS A INVITATIONAL EVENT with 16 players

Another point is the World Golf events , they are also invite only but at least they have far more players

They have to give more weighting to points earned in the current season.

It is now almost impossible for a player to get selected if he had a very poor previous season or wasn't on the tour , great example being edfors , I suspect this is done on purpose , very hard to get selected when a)you have no points to carry over and b)You aren't in the world champ events.

There is some bias against continental golfers but the real bias is against "no name" as the entire selection process was tailered to suit the big names.

Final note , Bjorn has the worst temper in golf , although he must have some redeeming points because he is popular with the players but he has ABSOLUTELY DISGRACED HIMSELF TODAY to call Woosie Barmy is simply not on , it is the worst reaction to a Ryder Cup omission EVER.

  • 127.
  • At 07:42 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Dan Reid wrote:

I feel Bjorn will live to regret his outburst.If we win, he will look foolish and, if we lose,he will have to shoulder some of the blame.I wish he had learned to count up to ten ( and more perhaps!)before responding.

  • 128.
  • At 07:44 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Jeff H wrote:

It was no surprise that Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke where the wildcard selections. They were both key members of the last Ryder Cup team and have excellent matchplay records, which will strike fear into the Americans who are drawn against them. They are also both extremely popular players, who who will have excellent rapport with the galleries.

Thomas Bjorn has done himself no favours by his outburst.He would have been better advised to count to ten and wait until the event has been completed which would have allowed him to make any comments in a dignified manner. This way he has shown himself to be a very poor sportsman, something you would expect from our overpaid football prima donnas. Unfortunately his outburst has not helped the European cause.

I too am worried about Woosnam's lack of man management skills and agree that Tom Lehman is streets ahead of him. Let's just hope that the strength of character of the European players, together with the tremendous Irish support will be the deciding factor in what will be a very close match.

  • 129.
  • At 07:56 PM on 04 Sep 2006,

The disrespect and selfishness shown by Bjorn will not help the team. There is a time and place and given his "senior pro" standing on tour he should have known better.
My major concern is the backroom staff. Woosnam was a fierce competitor, but i cannot remember Des Smyth setting the world on fire; although Lyle has done some good work? I would have preferred someone experienced and currently on tour as vice captain, say Jimenez? I know Woosnam has played many times with prospective team members during this season to try to get to know them. Remember Woosnam has been a successful vice captain and will have sought out advice from Torrance etc. It remains to be seen whether he has the ability to culture the winning environment? Do not forget that Monty/Ollie/Clarke/Garcia have been around a long time, They will not be fooled by poor leadership and the personalities they have will need little or no firing up. I do believe if the pairings are correct then we can walk it.
Temperament is Woosnams issue, if the only tool you have in the box is a hammer, you may well break something!

  • 130.
  • At 08:05 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • stabulum wrote:

I've been watching Ryder Cup since the europeans enter the match. There has been exciting moments and I hope the team will win again.
But this is a sad moment. I'm a big fan of Bjorn. I've never seen him like this and there is no doubt of mine that the reason for this reaction is that he has been treated unfair. Woosnam gave him a 20 second bad explanation over the phone. That is the only conversation in 6 month!
I know Lee, Darren and Thomas are big friends. Hope this story will not end their friendship..

  • 131.
  • At 08:15 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Duncan Taylor wrote:

Thomas Bjorn's reaction to his "omission" from the team fully vindicates the captains decision to include Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke. It just shows that he's not a team player and detracts the focus of the team and captain in a negative way. I feel this childish display will only reduce his chances of being picked in the future, should the same situation arrise.

  • 132.
  • At 08:26 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Andy Ellis wrote:

The Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood selection is correct. In previous RC's they have been a very formidable partnership. This time Europe need Darren Clarke as he does not fear the Americans and the sensible selection is to pick his life long friend and golfing partner. Lee will be his partner for the first day at least to help him through the sentiment and help him focus on the job of winning this for the European team and his dearly loved Heather. Good luck and play well to the Europeans.

  • 133.
  • At 08:34 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • David MAC wrote:

My fellow golf fans. I believe Europe will win this week. As for the wild card controversy it strikes me that in most years the picks on both sides have been more to do with the Captain's drinking buddies that the cold stats or pschological considerations. In my view the obvious person who should have been selected is Bernard Langer. Over 18 holes he on his day is still a match for anyone and he is a true golf gent. As for the Dane i think we should show him some empathy and remember that he is only human. Finally a word for Monty. As a fellow scot, and a fan, i plead for you to take a leaf out of ollie's book. Don't worry about what the crowds doing, focus, relax and you might at long last win that elusive major your talent richly deserves. Next year before the Masters go fishing!

  • 134.
  • At 08:38 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • chris lugg wrote:

westwood/clarke had to be woosies wildcard picks.bjorn's a bottler,the rest are too inexperienced (jimenez apart).as for woosnam's lack of leadership skills,lets wait until after the ryder cup and then make a judgement.

  • 135.
  • At 08:46 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • dave curtis wrote:

Shame on Bjorn to lash out like he did. Does not belong in golf. Having said that, am I not correct in saying that Lee Westwood gave an interview early this year where he said he was not going to change his schedule just to play in one tournament in Sept in the K Club. That doesnt sound like a committed player to me.

  • 136.
  • At 08:48 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Henrik wrote:

I think the choice of the last wild card can be viewed from many different points. But the fact is that Lee Westwood was outside the top 20 on the points list and Bjorn or Edfords from the points list would have been a better choice. I personaly would have liked to see Bjorn make the team...

For all of u who are talking about Bjorn as a guy that crumbles under pressure that is outright wrong. Bjorn has more top 3 finishes in Majors than both Clarke and Westwood. He ties the lowest round ever shot in a PGA Championship (Major) in 2005 63, third round. And on Sunday that year he lipped out at the 18 for a playoff with Phil Mickelson finishing tied for second. He won in Ireland this year after an opening round of 78 highest opening round for a winner on the European Tour since 1975.

So i dont think u can call a guy with more than 10 world wide wins and consistent in the top 20 on the Order of Merit for 10 years for a guy that crumbles under pressure.

I wish the European Ryder Cup team all the best and may they kick the US teams A**

  • 137.
  • At 08:49 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Pete Merrick wrote:

I haven't read all the blogs so maybe going over old ground, but didn't Thomas Bjorn have a moan a few years ago about Phillip Price not being the right person to fly home on a private jet (not good enough)after the last win and whinge about it? I think he should pull his neck in and stop throwing his toys out of the pram.

  • 138.
  • At 08:54 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Andy Philip wrote:

I agree with all the posts saying that if you dont make the top 10 you cant complain about the picks. However, I'm with greenboy . i cant believe how little has been made of the fact that Carl Petterson would have walked into the team if there hadnt been such a delay in hhis gaining tour membership. That fact alone means he should have got a card.

However , its water under the bridge now and given Bjorns reaction you cant help but feel that Woosnam made the right choice between those 2 . Time to get behind the team though.

  • 139.
  • At 08:57 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Colin Mac wrote:

Mongomerie's comments regarding Olazabal's non-appearance in Germany are potentially more damaging to Europe's chances than Bjorn's ill-judged but predictable comments regarding Woosnam.Not much has been made of Monty's no-show at last weeks' WGC event in Akron,least of all by Olazabal.

  • 140.
  • At 09:15 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • tehmasp wrote:

Whilst Woosnam may have won a jacket or two in his time, he did not ever project an aura of invincibility. I fear the team will have to perform way above themselves, and off their own bat, if there is to be a fair old fight !!

  • 141.
  • At 09:37 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Kristian wrote:

As I am from Denmark I am ofcourse very puzzled by the selection made by Woosie - and I feel that everybody connected with the sport of golf must feel that it is an unfair decision - but we will not know if it is the right decision untill after the Ryder Cup.

I hope for Woosies sake that it is the right decision - but I will not be watching any longer.

  • 142.
  • At 09:59 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • David Morris Evans wrote:

Thomas Bjorn's response to the disappointment of not being selected may well be the reason why he was overlooked - I definitely would not support his inclusion, in the event of injury or Darren Clarke withdrawing due to a lack of form in Madrid. He's shown himself to be a sore loser and attempted to undermine the team's morale - don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out, Thomas.

Petterson would be my selection for 1st reserve.

We're all engaging in crystal ball gazing when it comes to Woosie's leadership - do these guys need a Monty-like strategist (as in FMV Bernard Monty)? I think not - but what the hell do we all know until Sept 25? I do think we should be careful not to under-estimate the US rookies - we're better off when we are not the favo(u)rites ...

  • 143.
  • At 10:04 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Manu wrote:

why pick Westwood. I know he did well at the last Ryder cup, but he has not being playing well for some time. Seen from the continent, woosie had made a bad choice. It should have Bjorn or Carl Perterson.
I really understand Bjorn. Selecting Westwood do not make sense.

  • 144.
  • At 10:26 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • John Coveney wrote:

Lee Westwood is a very good match play player. He just seems to like that format more than most. Maybe we should just be happy that Woosie had such a difficult choice choosing between him, Bjorn and Petterson. It shows the strength of the European team. Time to stop the bickering and concentrate on the job in hand. Go Europe !!

  • 145.
  • At 10:27 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Mark wrote:

Darren Clarke needed to be picked, for golfing reasons - good matchplay record, decent Ryder Cup record - but also for humanitarian reasons. To be honest, I would take a European loss in the Ryder Cup if Darren Clarke's golfing rehabilitation can be accommodated. With everything that he has been through, surely it is time that people realise some things in life are more important.
With that in mind, Lee Westwood's appearance is practically a given. As Clarke's oldest friend on the tour, he can offer a familiar face in trying circumstances, a shoulder to cry on, if necessary, and the kind of shared history that will ease Clarke through a pressure-cooker situation.
Thomas Bjorn, while generally considered a "good guy" among the tour players, has done little for his reputation with this outburst and, given the benefit of hindsight, will probably regret it.

  • 146.
  • At 10:48 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Peter Norrie wrote:

My main concern is Woosnam's ability as a captain. It's not looking good, Woosie is a battler on the course but I really don't think he's a leader. Lehman is far more meticulous - he played in the European Open at the K Club and recently had the American team there to get a feel for the place. Let's hope Woosnam listens to the players with regard to partnerships and plays everyone before the singles matches. IMO, we lost at Brookline in '99 because Mark James left 3 guys on the bench for two days then expected them to produce the goods on Sunday - crazy stuff!

  • 147.
  • At 11:29 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Neil Brough wrote:

What surprises me most about the press conference on Sunday, was the way Woosnam came across as if he had just turned up at local supermarket to open the store. He had no air of confidence about him and used the word "great player" some many times that I forgot who he was talking about! I also felt he had no prescripted answers to questions that were obviously going to do the round. A prime example was not communicating to players who made it or didnt before going to the conference, and the way he handled the comments from Monty about Olly. For someone who has had over a year to brush up on Captaincy, his first school report will have to read "must do better". So in summary, whilst I dont feel Mr Woosnam has the skills or affinity with the team, like messers Torrance or Langer. The quality of team should be good enough to keep the cup. But Ian dont forget as the advert goes "Its good to talk!"

  • 148.
  • At 12:08 AM on 05 Sep 2006,
  • peter tobin wrote:


  • 149.
  • At 01:00 AM on 05 Sep 2006,
  • Robert Misson wrote:

This year's competition promises to be first rate, and I think the victory margin will be small.

The only unwelcome features so far are Bjorn's petulance, and this silly jingoistic "let's go back to Britain vs US." The wonderful talent the continental players bring makes the competition richer and vastly more interesting. There really was not a lot of interest in it when the Americans won routinely against players from a very small talent pool.

Agree that Tom Lehman's performance so far has been excellent. Loren Roberts and Cory Pavin bring great skills and intensity to their tasks.

  • 150.
  • At 08:35 AM on 05 Sep 2006,
  • Don Noble wrote:

I have no serious gripe with the Captains picks, more the extraordinary way that Woosnam made & announced the decision.Woosnam obviously lacks management skills whether man to man or dealing with the press. His judgment can also be questioned in his choice of assistants in Russell & Baker with Des Smyth the token Irishman as Vice-Captain. So far there seems to not so much no strong management as no management at all. The team will pull together as they are proud professionals who will be motivated by a very partisan crowd, however can the Captaincy stop being a job for the boys. It is embarrassing for the European tour.

  • 151.
  • At 08:50 AM on 05 Sep 2006,
  • Don Noble wrote:

A quick comment on the selection of Clarke. Woods struggled after the death of his Father, Westwood missed 7 cuts in a row after his Grandmother died earlier this year. Woosnam has, by his account, a brief telephone conversation with Clarke &, no doubt on the advice of his management, he is in the team! How much better to have picked Bjorn & Westwood & invited Clarke to be a Vice Captain. The emotional choice of Clarke is too risky!

  • 152.
  • At 10:29 AM on 05 Sep 2006,
  • Chris Hewitt wrote:

Whilst I don't disagree with everyones logic about form for picking the wildcards I think we must all realise that if it was only about picking the next 2 "best" performers then the wildcard system should be dropped and the team should be based on the Top 12. I mean the term "wildcard" sort of says it all about those picks!

  • 153.
  • At 11:12 AM on 05 Sep 2006,
  • Verner Bager wrote:

Just a few statistic facts for the guys who praise Westwoods present golfgame (last 12 months). He is far down the rank.

Total putting number 130
Sand save percentage 183
Birdie Concersion, 167

His all-around ranking is 60, while Bjorn is 21

  • 154.
  • At 12:33 PM on 05 Sep 2006,
  • Tricky wrote:

Thomas Bjorn has in my mind just shown why he shouldn't be playing in this years Ryder Cup side.

It's just sour grapes plain and simple. He is upset that Woosie picked Westwood rather than himself. Indeed he may be playing better than Westwood at the moment in stroke play, but Lee has a fantastic Ryder Cup record and what counts is how he plays over those three days. We shall see whether it was the correct decision on the 24th September.

In the meantime, Thomas needs to get things into perspective and support the team and the captain.

The article announcing that McGinley and Westwood will play in this week's US$3 million Singapore Open has a glaring inacuracy. The article states that the event is "the richest in Asia". Someone obviously forgot that the HSBC Championship in Shanghai is worth US$5 million.

  • 156.
  • At 11:09 AM on 06 Sep 2006,
  • Steve Blackham wrote:

Can we remember that matchplay is a different game to stroke play. It requires a stronger character as you need to consider what your opponent is doing in the game.
As the rankings are based on stroke play, the wildcards allow the captains to pick players they feel will be the better match players. No-one has critisised Lehman for his picks. I feel Woosnam has made a decision similar to Lehman & he is getting slated for it.

That apart I agree that I don't feel Woosnam is the right pick for Captain. His vice-captain choices of Des Smyth & Peter Baker are unlikely to inspire extra convidence in the side. They have even less management skills than Woosnam, & were probably picked by him to make him seem stronger.

Can we please forget the thought of a GB & Ireland side playing the US again. I can remember the thrashing we used to receive, often against a 2nd string US team. Olly, Seve, Garcia & Bernahd Langer were taken into our hearts in those events, so I say come on Europe.

  • 157.
  • At 01:05 PM on 06 Sep 2006,
  • Julian wrote:

I think it's ridiculous and a tad disgraceful that Darren Clarke has been picked for this event ahead of the likes of Peterssen or Bjorn.

Don't get me wrong, I obviously have a lot of sympathy for the Big Man after all he's been through recently, he should be immensely proud of the way he's conducted himself, yet is he really in a fit state to think clearly about whether he's ready to play in this incredibly emotive event. His heart seemed to rule his head.

I think his pick was something of a sympathy vote by Woosnam. The Ryder Cup is a tinderbox of emotions as it is, without throwing a recently bereaved husband into the fray.

Now was not the time. Just my opinion

  • 158.
  • At 01:07 PM on 06 Sep 2006,
  • Graham wrote:

We should not really be surprised at why all the so called golf sports writers pick up and in effect glorify such small happenings....come on guys concentrate on the real issue...the game itself and how the teams will perform.
Not gossip that you just incite by narrow minded 'I wanna be' comments.
Thats what makes us all think & know we could do a better job.
Some of this Thomas Bjorn business is just much so he even had to admit it was it worth you all talking a load of !
The matter in hand gentlemen....the game itself.

  • 159.
  • At 06:30 PM on 06 Sep 2006,
  • patrick gallagher wrote:

Just received my ryder cup pack, tickets etc.
Disgusted to find I cannott take a bag more than 8" x 8" into the course,
Pros can walk the course in shoes, as can officials etc, and if it rains they can carry in teir large bag, waterproofs, drinks, sun cream, fruit etc etc, But lowly me only a supporter and grass roots golfer having paid agreat deal of money to be there, travel, hotels, transsport to and from K cLub etc, etc cant take in a seat, or anything that wont fit into a bag 8" x 8" how unfair is this.??? so what do we do, get wet, have blistered or tired feet after 4 days, I ask you. can anyone help me to get this changed ??
this could possibly ruin not just for me but many more what was and should still be a super opprtunity of a lifetime to see the worlds greaest golfers in action. please please can we do something to help the thousands that will be attending.. Pat gallagher

  • 160.
  • At 03:36 PM on 14 Sep 2006,
  • john wrote:

Based on form, Bjorn or one of the other Scandanavian players should've been selected.

Wildcard selections are the discretion of the captain. As others have said, Bjorn should try to make the team on points next time.

A captain should honestly inform possible picks before and after the selection their status.
Those not making the team should have that private forum to dialog with the captain.

Captaincy is all about course preparation, people skills and mangaing the non-golf things surrounding the event.

The captain's role is more overrated once those initial tee shots are struck that first morning.

Then it's about the players:
1. who hit more GIR than
2. get their approach shots within 5 -15 feet more often than
3. Scramble better than
4. Make more birdies than


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