European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie has named Luke Donald, Padraig Harrington and Edoardo Molinari as the three wildcard picks for his team to face the USA at Celtic Manor this October.
The announcement was made after the conclusion of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, won in some style by Edoardo Molinari. Montgomerie’s decision means there will be no place at Celtic Manor for Paul Casey or Justin Rose.
Montgomerie, who had been in discussion with vice-captains Thomas Bjorn, Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke for some hours prior to the announcement, also revealed that Sergio Garcia has accepted an invitation to be a fourth vice-captain at Celtic Manor.
Introducing Montgomerie to the waiting media, European Tour chief executive George O’Grady talked of the strength in depth of European golf at present stating Montgomerie had “an embarrassment of riches,” to choose from.
Monty re-iterated those sentiments before going on to announce his selections and the reasons behind each.
“Padraig Harrington has won three Major championships in the last three years,” said Montgomerie. “He is someone we feel that nobody in matchplay golf wants to play. He’s a great competitor and someone that will bring everything to the team that we know about European golf.
Luke Donald has played seven times in Ryder Cup matches and has lost only once.
And Edoardo Molinari, what can one say about his performance today? In my time on the European Tour, over 24 years, I have never seen a finish like that. All credit to him, having to win and doing just that.”
Montgomerie broke the bad news to Justin Rose just before he headed out for his final round at The Barclays in New Jersey but he was unable to speak with Paul Casey as he was already on the course in that same event.
Edoardo Molinari joins brother Francesco in the final team line-up, they will be the first brothers to play in the same match since Bernard and Geoff Hunt in 1963.
“It made our job easier that he did win but I don’t think he had to win,” Monty said of Edoardo’s performance at Gleneagles. “I don’t think I have to tell you who his partner will be in the fourballs or foursomes.”
Amazingly when the nine automatic qualifiers were confirmed for the European side, Monty was left to select three from five European players (not already qualified) who are all in the top 22 on the Official World Golf Ranking. It might be Casey who feels most hard done by, he’s currently ranked 9th – higher than all but three of the final 12 for Celtic Manor.
Final European Ryder Cup Team
Luke Donald – England
Ross Fisher – England
Peter Hanson – Sweden
Padraig Harrington – Ireland
Miguel Angel Jimenez – Spain
Martin Kaymer – Germany
Graeme McDowell – Northern Ireland
Rory McIlroy – Northern Ireland
Edoardo Molinari – Italy
Francesco Molinari – Italy
Ian Poulter – England
Lee Westwood – England