So, unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you’re aware that not only is the Ryder Cup only a couple of weeks away, but the European Team is now complete. I think on paper, this is possibly one of the strongest European Ryder Cup Teams we’ve ever had; there’s multiple major champions, former world number ones, and order of merit winners left, right and centre. In fact, 7 of the team are in the top 16 in the world.
Earlier this week, Captain Thomas Bjorn completed his line up with his 4 wildcard picks; let’s take a closer look at these as there’s been a lot of talk in the golfing world.
First things first, let’s face it; Bjorn only really had 3 picks. Ian Poulter was always going to be on the team. He is Mr Ryder Cup, and he’s finally back to playing golf at his full potential. After a couple of years struggling for form, he’s back in the winner’s circle. His passion and determination makes him such a good match play golfer, especially when it’s representing Team Europe.
I think Henrik Stenson was a pretty sure bet to get a pick as well – the super cool Swede has been struggling with an injury over the past few months, but it’s now come to light that he had a good chat with Bjorn when this injury came on, and he’s sacrificed his own personal targets to get himself fit and ready for Paris. Plus, he has to be there to play with Justin Rose.
The final two spaces were always going to be tricky to predict, with several guys vying for those elusive spaces. I think picking Paul Casey is a sensible choice; he’s fought back after quite a few years of struggling with his game (similar to Poulter) and now finds himself comfortably inside the top 20 in the world. He also now brings a wealth of experience to what is a relatively inexperienced (when it comes to Ryder Cup) team.
The final space is always going to be tricky. Personally I agree with Bjorn picking Sergio Garcia. There’s people all over saying that he doesn’t deserve it, or that there’s so many others that should be picked ahead of him, but Sergio has been such a crucial part of the Ryder Cup for a long time now. Yes his game hasn’t been quite where we’d all like it to be, but neither was Poulter’s a few years ago when he was picked and that proved to be a great choice. I can see Sergio stealing the show in Paris and proving everyone wrong.
There’s always going to be a bunch of guys that people will say should have made the team, which is always going to be difficult when it’s such a small team. Matt Wallace was always going to be in contention with three wins in a year, but I think having so many rookies on the team already was always going to be against him. Rafa Cabrerra Bello is another who was knocking on the door, and maybe if the Ryder Cup was being held anywhere else then he would have just creeped on the team. Russel Knox would have definitely made the team if the Ryder Cup was being held across the pond, but his lack of European golf is definitely what has cost him. Finally, Eddie Pepperell would have been great for team morale and even better for us to see his tweets from inside the team room, but its maybe two years too early for the Englishman.
What are your thoughts on the European Team? Who would you have picked if you were in Thomas Bjorn’s shoes?