European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie announced his three wildcard picks from Gleneagles on Sunday. Joining the nine who made the team on merit — Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Peter Hanson, Francesco Molinari, Ross Fisher and Ian Poulter — are Edoardo Molinari, Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald. (Those were my guesses that I tweeted earlier this afternoon, but not necessarily who I wanted on the team.)
That means Justin Rose, who won twice on the PGA Tour this season, and Paul Casey, who was bumped out on points when Peter Hanson won last week, got snubbed, but thing is, a cause could be made for or against the five that were in the running for the three spots.
Molinari was a no-brainer because his brother Francesco was already on the team, and their games complement each other — together, they essentially create the best player in the world! Edoardo also birdied the last three holes at the Johnnie Walker Championship on Sunday to win by one stroke.
Luke Donald has a fantastic Walker Cup and Ryder Cup record. He’s on fire at The Barclays today in the final round, posting six straight birdies early to card a 28 on the front nine. An IMG rep caught Donald on the 11th hole to tell him the good news. And then Donald was apparently so overcome with joy that he made back-to-back bogeys.
Meanwhile, Paddy is a scrappy player and three-time major champion. He hasn’t won this year, but he’s a leader that you can count on to grind it out to the very end.
But there will be some outrage with Paul Casey, the ninth player in the world, being left off the team. In an awkward coincidence, Harrington and Casey are paired together at Ridgewood today, and Monty was unable to reach Casey before his tee time.
My Scottish friend James made a good point. He told me to think of it this way: Imagine the scenario of Harrington, Donald, Molinari, Casey and Rose all pitted against each other down the wire to win a major, who would win the most number of times (or who would you put you money on)? Probably Casey and Harrington.
I’m sure American Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin wishes he had the same problem. Too bad we can’t take Paul Casey and Justin Rose off their hands for them.
If Westwood, who withdrew from the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational with calf injury, is unable to compete, Justin Rose will replace him.
Oh, and the best part — Sergio Garcia, who is on a two-month sabbatical from golf, will serve as Monty’s vice-captain.
“We had an embarrassment of riches on this occasion, and I and our team here had to leave out world stars,” Montgomerie said. “Justin Rose and Paul Casey, I’m afraid, are those world stars that have been left out on this occasion.”