European Ryder Cup Captain Woosnam Faces Tougher Choices Than US Captain Lehman
Without question, the most difficult choice for a Ryder Cup Captain is making his two wild card selections for the 12-man roster. All of the best players want to be on the team but there is limited room. Somebody who was close to qualifying for one of the 10 automatic berths will be crushed when he’s passed over for someone else. Of course, the two who are selected will be positively ecstatic.
US Captain Tom Lehman agonized over his 2 choices for several days but had the advantage of knowing that he should select experience due to four of his automatic qualifiers being rookies. European Captain Ian Woosnam will not have the same luxury. As it stands right now, there are just 2 rookies on the team in Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson, so he must consider everyone, experienced or not.
Favored amongst his choices must be Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter as both have been in very good form of late. But perhaps a pick should go to Q-school grad Johan Edfors, currently 4th on the European Order of Merit, who has won twice won this year on the European Tour including the Scottish Open over a world class field. Also on his short list are Thomas Bjorn and Paul Broadhurst, both friends and former Ryder cup competitors near the top of the EOM.
Then there is case of the Irishman Darren Clarke, who has let it be known that he would welcome a wild card selection. He would be a massively popular pick for this contest on the Emerald Isle. The whole world must be pulling for Darren as he grieves his wife’s’ premature death from cancer, let alone the Irish. It is going to be hard NOT to pick him now.
I would not want to be in Woosie’s shoes Sunday night. Whatever he does will upset some friends, and perhaps the host nation.
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There is such strength in Europe and so many to choose from.
By the way Johan Edfors has actually won 3 times, not twice, and still hasn't got in the team, that shows how good the others are.
To be honest, he won't be on the short list though. Although he won 3 times, they are his only top 10s.
He is an irratic performer and Woosie will want players he can rely on.
Poulter played bad at the BMW and got rid of any slight chance he may have of getting a pick.
Clarke is probably the closest thing to a certainty there is.
He is the only multiple WGC event winner apart from Tiger.
He has beat Tiger head to head in a 36 hole match play final, how many players can say they beat Tiger over 36 holes? Most capitulate when they play with him in stroke play for one round, not to mention 2 rounds of matchplay.
Also Darren has been a very strong Ryder Cup player and that experience will be considered very important.
So who for the 2nd pick?
- Lee Westwood, very experienced. Good playing partner for Darren! Lee is playing good too, and showing good form despite being sick. I met him at the BMW and he is not well at all. The courage to play on will impress Woosie who is there too.
- Thomas Bjorn, tipped alot, but I doubt it. He has had made some huge mistakes when leading tournaments.
- Paul Broadhurst, decent player but not quite good enough. He also would have needed to produce more at the BMW to really impress Woosie. He was just outside the qualifying placings, and the captain would have expected him to put in a good performance to at least make a run at the team with the pressure on, but he didn't produce enough.
- By the way, if McGinley didn't get in, I doubt he would have got a pick because he just hasn't played well.
So I think he will probably choose Darren and Lee Westwood, and they will pair up together as well.
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