Thomas Bjorn sides with experience in his Ryder Cup captain’s picks
Thomas Bjorn today announced his four wildcard picks for the Ryder Cup, with the Dane gambling heavily on experience. Ryder Cup stalwarts Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter, and Sergio Garcia got the nod from Bjorn, as well as Paul Casey, who last featured in this event in 2008.
The four men join a side which contains five first-timers, and Bjorn made it clear today just how valuable the addition of experience was to his European team:
“These four all bring so much to the Ryder Cup. They bring loads of experience, and they know what it feels to win and lose.”
Stenson, Poulter, and Casey were all expected to be named on the European side by Thomas Bjorn; however, there had been serious doubt over whether or not the Dane would spend a wildcard pick on Sergio Garcia. The Spaniard has been woefully out of form for the majority of 2018, missing seven of his last ten cuts on the PGA Tour. Bjorn, however, was in no doubt regarding the selection of Garcia, stating on Wednesday that if team Europe would not have had the Spaniard on their team that it would be like “a football team without their captain.”
Garcia’s Ryder Cup record is up there with the best. The 38-year-old is the most experienced Ryder Cup player on the European side, and the Spaniard boasts a brilliant 19-11-7 record in the event. Garcia’s ability to inspire both on the course and in the dressing room were no doubt factors in the decision to opt for the out-of-form veteran.
Garcia, speaking today stressed that he was ready to give everything he had to repay the faith that his captain has shown in him.
“Obviously it feels amazing, and I’m very thankful to Thomas for believing in me. I’m going to give everything I have on the course and in the team room with some of the rookies, to make them more comfortable.”
Thomas Pieters, Matt Wallace, and Rafa Cabrera Bello are just some of the golfers sure to be disappointed with their omission, with the latter perhaps feeling the hardest hit to miss out. Cabrera Bello collected 2.5 points out of a possible three on his Ryder Cup debut at Hazeltine in 2016, and he has an excellent record at this year’s host course, Le Golf National, where he has claimed two top-five finishes in the past. It is Cabrera Bello’s fellow countryman however whose previous Ryder Cup prowess gave him the edge over all of his competitors for a place on Bjorn’s European side.
The Ryder Cup begins on the 28th of September, and Thomas Bjorn will be hoping the experience of his four wildcard picks can inspire Team Europe to a famous victory over a powerful United States side.
Full Europe team: Justin Rose, Francesco Molinari, Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Alex Noren, Thorbjorn Olesen, Paul Casey, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson.