Well, it wouldn’t be the Ryder Cup without some drama — although it’s usually with spectacular golf shots on the course. Sir Nick Faldo caused a stir on Friday with his on-air comments about Sergio Garcia at the 2008 Ryder Cup, where Europe received a thrashing from the United States, 16.5-11.5.
Faldo, who was the captain that year (and the only losing one for Europe in this century), made the remarks about Garcia following his and Rory McIlroy’s fourball loss to Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley. While he complimented Garcia’s overall Ryder Cup record, he criticized the Spaniard for his “useless” contribution and “bad attitude” at Valhalla.
Now, this was *before* Garcia arguably hit the shot of the day with his approach into the par-5 18th to set him and McIlroy up to birdie and win the last hole for a halve in afternoon foursomes against Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler. However, it’s still a bit random and harsh for Faldo to launch such an attack against Sergio — who certainly wasn’t at his best for most of the day (or until the last two holes), but I wouldn’t call him “useless,” and I’d say his attitude was positive. Plus, you could say that if it weren’t for Faldo, Europe would’ve won the last six consecutive Ryder Cups…
When Faldo’s comments were brought to Garcia’s attention in the European press conference, the expressions on the faces of the players, which included McIlroy, Jamie Donaldson, Lee Westwood, Victor Dubuisson and Graeme McDowell, ranged from awkward disbelief to shock and anger.
I’ll just copy and paste the discussion from the transcript:
Q. Nick Faldo has caused a storm today with comments about Sergio Garcia and the 2008 Ryder Cup. He described Sergio as being useless in Valhalla and also of having a bad attitude. I just want to know what Sergio’s response to that is, and also if some of his teammates can defend him and how he is with the team (laughter)?
LEE WESTWOOD: That’s a great question. Okay. We’ll take the euphoria we all have from today and just crush it —
SERGIO GARCÍA: Sorry, who asked? Sorry. Are you sure you didn’t misquote him? That’s unfortunate (laughter). I guess he doesn’t feel European. That’s the only thing I can think of. You know, there’s a lot of things I could say about Nick Faldo, but I’m not going to put myself down to his level.
GRAEME McDOWELL: I’ll make a comment on that. When I’m playing — I’m a rookie playing The Ryder Cup in 2008, and was it Saturday afternoon or Saturday morning you guys got sat down?
LEE WESTWOOD: Afternoon.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, you’ve got one of the best Ryder Cup pairings of all time being sat down on a Saturday afternoon of a Ryder Cup that we go on to lose. I’d say Sergio was fairly useless that afternoon, yeah, because he wasn’t able to play. So, yeah, I agree.
PAUL SYMES: Okay, if we can end on a happier note.
RORY McILROY: (Putting arm around Sergio, consoling) You’re not useless (laughter).
SERGIO GARCIA: Thanks, Nick, I love you, too. (Laughter)
McDowell’s tone showed that he was pissed off at the remarks, and he was basically taking a slight jab at Faldo, who sat Garcia (and Westwood) on Saturday (in 2008), while backing up Sergio at the same time.
Garcia contributed a half point to Europe’s total of 5 points at the end of the first two sessions. He will not play in Saturday morning’s fourball matches. Probably because, you know, he’s “useless.”