Garcia, Poulter and Lowry join Ryder Cup team
Due to the BMW PGA Championship in England, the Europeans had the luxury of an extra week to find the final pieces of the Ryder Cup puzzle.
Team captain Padraig Harrington, who missed the weekend cut, was on hand to watch his potential wildcards give their all in a final bid to make this year’s team.
Sergio Garcia (Credit: European Tour)
Sergio Garcia didn’t tee it up at the BMW but with a stellar Ryder Cup record dating back to 1999, the Spaniard was an easy pick for Harrington. Not only is he one of the most decorated Ryder Cup team members, the 41-year-old is Europe’s all-time leading points scorer with a 25.5 total.
“He’s a leader. He loves match play. He’s a great ball-striker and is well suited to the golf course. But it’s what he does for the team, he really leads out that team,” said Harrington of Garcia’s inclusion.
Ian “The Postman” Poulter was another no-brainer for Harrington. The Englishman has lost just 6 of his 22 matches and is undefeated in singles matches since his debut in 2004. He was also instrumental in Europe’s unlikely, and now historic, comeback win at Medinah in 2012.
“Not only do I bring obviously a bit of current form but you know, that extra bit that Paddy wants me there in the team room to inspire some of the players and kind of be an adaptable player to play with many people throughout the team,” said Poulter.
“Hopefully I can do the job I’ve done in previous Ryder Cups and that is deliver quite a few points, and my percentage conversion of that has been pretty good. Just very happy to get that nod from Paddy”.
The only contentious pick might be Shane Lowry, who will tee it up as a Ryder Cup rookie at the age of 34. While the Irishman enjoyed a solid year including a fourth place at the US PGA Championship, five-time team-member Justin Rose was pushed aside in favour of Lowry.
Perhaps with Garcia and Poulter already on board, Harrington thought he had enough experience on the team and needed to bring in a fresh face. Of the 12 team members only Lowry, Viktor Hovland and Bernd Wiesberger will be making their Ryder Cup debuts – the US team has six rookies.
Lee Westwood, Matt Fitzpatrick and Bernd Wiesberger were the final players to make automatic qualification following the BMW PGA Championship results.
The 12-man European roster is Paul Casey, Matt Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia, Tyrrell Hatton, Viktor Hovland, Shane Lowry, Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter, Jon Rahm, Bernd Wiesberger and Lee Westwood.
The Ryder Cup will tee off from September 24 at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.