The European Tour Makes A Ryder Cup Mis-Step
What we all want to know is precisely how did Colin Montgomerie say with a straight face that “nobody in match play golf wants to play” Padraig Harrington. When I heard him say that, I had to push up on my chin just to get my mouth closed. Did I hear what I think I heard? The Americans will be lined up to get a shot at him unless something magically happens to Harrington’s form in the next few weeks. Monty mentioned Padraig’s stature. One of his Vice Captains should have reminded him it’s 2010, not 2007. Stature doesn’t start the match 1up. And it’s not like you’d characterize Harrington as a beast when it comes to match play. He has been bounced in the first round the last two times at the WGC Match Play by low seeds. His record in the last two Ryder Cups is atrocious at 0-3-1 in Valhalla and 0-4-1 in Ireland.
Poor Paul Casey’s Ryder Cup hopes have been sacrificed to appease the small-minded. Currently ranked as the Worlds 8th Best Player, despite missing half of 2009 with injury, he is not included in the European Team, a victim of this inferiority complex of the European Tour. As a final slap, rather than (as a courtesy to its own members competing in America) holding the news of Captains Picks until the Barclays event in New Jersey was finished, they made their announcement mid-round. They knew that this information would affect the play of the four men involved - Harrington, Casey, Luke Donald and Justin Rose. I suspect that Barclays, as a major sponsor to both Tours, will have something to say about this egregious breach of etiquette.
There is a very simple fix to the Euro selection system to eliminate this type of handcuffing and ensure the best possible team of Euro Tour members. Currently, it is backwards. What should be done is to make the top five golfers on the European Points List automatic qualifiers. Then take the next four eligible golfers on the World Ranking list not otherwise qualified. If it had been done this way this year, the automatic nine would have been Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter, then Eduardo Molinari, Donald, Harrington and Justin Rose. Then Captain Montgomerie would fill the team by choosing between Casey, Francesco Molinari, Ross Fisher, Peter Hanson and Miguel Angel Jimenez. Now, there, that doesn’t hurt, does it?
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I hadn't heard Monty say that nobody wants to play Harrington in match play, but possibly some of the US rookies could be a little twitchy about playing someone with 3 majors - especially as none of them have played matchplay in this furnace. I, too, would have taken Casey instead of Harrington, however.
Of course no Euro contenders in The Barclays would have been impacted by the timing of the announcement had they been playing at Gleneagles to gain automatic places - but yes, the timing of announcing the picks was brutal.
Are you sure you are not going backwards on the Euro selection system? "If it had been done THIS way THIS year the automatic nine would have been...." Sure, but if we took your way NEXT time it might look just as contrary ?
Anyway - nice to hear from you again after all this time.
The benefit of taking the top 5 of the Euro points list first is that it will always include at least a few of the highest off the World Ranking list. It would be impossible for some of the top 5 of the Euro points list not to be high in the World Rankings. By the method currently employed, the automatic selections will always go deeper into the Euro points list. If I were trying to have the best team, I'd always prefer going deeper into the World Ranking list.
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