In what may be the single most questionable, Captain’s picks in Ryder Cup history, Nick Faldo yesterday chose Paul Casey and Ian Poulter, as his two choices.
In doing so, Faldo omitted Daren Clarke from the 12-man European squad. Clarke is a two time winner on the European Tour this year including a heroic victory two weeks ago in the KLM Dutch Open. More importantly though, Clarke, has been a mainstay of the European team for the last 12 years, and is an immensely likeable player who creates great team chemistry.
Clarke has a 10-7-3 record in the Ryder Cup. 8 of his ten wins have come being paired with Lee Westwood. Their partnership is one of the top pairings in the history of the event. Their collective record as a tandem is 8-1-1 which gives them an air of invincibility.
The consensus amongst the European players was that Clarke was a certainty to be picked (and we have been guilty of assuming that was a given, in the last blog). There will be an incredulous reaction to this decision by those players and a general outcry of “what was he (Faldo) thinking?”
The controversy that will be sure to follow will do nothing but damage the European team. In fact, this decision may be the single most beneficial one…..for the US Team.
Nick Faldo has always been his own man. As a player, he was aloof, rude and arrogant. It seems that, despite Faldo’s “Mr. Nice/Funny Guy” demeanor as a TV commentator, a leopard does not change its spots. This decision reeks of someone who basks in controversy and it makes positively, no sense.
Faldo may have just destroyed the single biggest advantage that the Europeans have had for the last 20 years; team camaraderie. It breathes new life for the underdog Americans.
It has been said in the past that the Ryder Cup Captain has very little to do with winning the Cup, but this may be a situation, where the Captain is responsible for losing it.