Ian Poulter/ Photosport
Ryder Cup Captain Jose Maria Olazabal & Nicolas Colsaerts
Ian Poulter of England and Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium were named by captain Jose Maria Olazabal as Europe’s two wildcard picks for next month’s Ryder Cup at the Medinah Country Club in Illinois. Jose spoke at a press conference at Gleneagles, Scotland, he said,
“Every one of you pretty much guessed Ian was going to be there. That was not a difficult pick because he has a great Ryder Cup record and he’s playing well. He had some issues earlier this season when he got ill and couldn’t play as much as he wanted. But his attitude and his spirit in the Ryder Cup has always been great and he is a player that likes to be in that environment. It gets the best out of him. At Valhalla in 2008 and at Celtic Manor in 2010 you didn’t need to motivate him. Just by looking into his eyes you could tell he was going to give everything he had.”
Nicolas is one of the longest hitters on the European Tour, and will become the first Belgian to play in the Ryder Cup. Captain Olazabal explained his reasons for picking the Belgian Bomber;
“Nicolas has shown a lot of heart, a lot of character, and I think he has got the game and the desire to do well. It’s also a long course at Medinah and he can take advantage of that, he will be suited to it. He has had a very solid season and on top of that he has made the extra effort to try and get in the team, that showed me he wants to be a part of it. Nicolas is going to be the only rookie in an experienced team but his match play record is very good, he won the World Match Play Championship in Spain this year.”
Among those who missed out on selection were Padraig Harrington of Ireland, Paul Casey, Robert Karlsson and Henrik Stenson. Jose said he had called the disappointed players;
“I talked to the next few guys on the points list, David Lynn, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Alvaro Quiros and Padraig. I made those phone calls and it wasn’t easy. They were disappointed not to make the team but they all took my decision well. Padraig played well at the US Masters, finishing eighth, he also had a good US Open and a good Irish Open, but he is 19th on the points list and he was just a little bit too far down. I know he’s a great player and I would have loved to have him in the team, in the same way I’d have loved to have Paul Casey, Robert Karlsson, Henrik Stenson, but you need to be playing well too,”
Jose has stated that the European Team and the American Team, captained by Davis Love III, are evenly matched for the contest at Medinah, even though Europe won 14 1/2 to 13 1/2 in the previous edition of the competition at Celtic Manor, Wales.
“Both teams are strong and I don’t see that there is a favorite. But the support of the home crowd will be massive to the U.S. They will also set up the course the way they want and we are going to have to play really well to have a chance to win.The atmosphere will be electrifying so I need to prepare my players for that and make sure they don’t allow themselves to be bothered by it. Luckily the guys have the experience to make that easier. We are playing great opponents but anything can happen.”
European team are: Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland), Justin Rose (England), Graeme McDowell (Northern Ireland), Paul Lawrie (Scotland), Francesco Molinari (Italy), Luke Donald (England), Lee Westwood (England), Sergio Garcia (Spain), Peter Hanson (Sweden), Martin Kaymer (Germany), Ian Poulter (England), Nicolas Colsaerts (Belgium).
US captain Davis Love will announce his four wildcard picks on September 4 in New York, I love the Ryder Cup, and match-play.