Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Ryder Cup: Paul Casey and Justin Rose pay price for European snub

Paul Casey, ninth in the world, and Justin Rose, twice a winner in America this summer, have paid the price for not coming back to Europe to fight for a Ryder Cup place.

Colin Montgomerie, faced with arguably the most difficult decision any captain has had regarding wild cards, tonight named Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald and uncapped Edoardo Molinari, winner of the last counting event, as the three men to complete his line-up.

They join automatic qualifiers Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter, Ross Fisher, Molinari's younger brother Francesco, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Peter Hanson.

The Molinaris become the first brothers to play in the same Ryder Cup match since Bernhard and Geoff Hunt represented Britain in 1963.

Because the so-called FedEx Four - Harrington, Casey, Donald and Rose - chose to stay in America in the last two weeks when returning to Europe could have seen them qualify, Montgomerie was left with five players in the world top 22 chasing a pick.

He had leave one of the renegades out and when Edoardo Molinari produced an astonishing three-birdie finish to snatch the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles today.

Montgomerie decided that two - Casey and Rose - would not be part of the team when the match is staged on Welsh soil for the first time at Celtic Manor on October 1-3.

"It's a very brave decision, it's a very strong decision - and it's one I hope will regain the Ryder Cup," said Montgomerie.

"There is nothing personal here. This is for the sake of the team.

"I've gone for the three that I think give us the best chance to win - and I couldn't possibly leave out Edoardo Molinari after what he did today.

"I feel sorry for Paul and Justin. I've left the world number nine out here for the first time and Justin is a world star here.

"We have an embarrassment of riches. It was the most stressful afternoon of my career- and I've not hit a golf shot.

"I wish the team could contain 20 names and it was a fraught afternoon in many ways, but then Edoardo Molinari made our job very easy and we said that to him."

Montgomerie deliberated with vice-captains Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn and Darren Clarke - and they will be joined in the week of the match by Sergio Garcia, who asked to be involved after losing his place.

In Harrington and Donald he has gone for a three-time major winner, but one who has not won a Ryder Cup game in the last two matches, and a player who lost only once in his two appearances before suffering the wrist injury that kept him out two years ago.

Montgomerie said: "Padraig is someone that we feel nobody in match play golf wants to play - a great competitor.

"I'm not concerned about his form at all (Harrington's last Tour win was over two years ago). I think when Padraig's back is to the wall he comes out and produces fantastic performances - and I am expecting that at Celtic Manor.

"The work ethic of Padraig Harrington made him an obvious choice.

"And in Luke we have someone that can compete in foursomes and in fourball golf. He's played seven times and only lost in one particular game.

"Paul Casey will play in the Ryder Cup again and again. I feel sorry for him and for Justin."

Casey was on the course in America when Montgomerie decided, but Rose had not yet teed off and so received a call.

"This is the hardest thing that any captain has to do," said the 47-year-old Scot, himself left out by Nick Faldo two years ago.

"Justin understood the position and he was very professional in his acceptance of that.

"It just proves the strength of the European Tour that he is not on this time selected."

Another big plus for Donald was that he was third at Celtic Manor in June's Wales Open.

Casey was the highest-ranked of all five main candidates, though, and out-played them in finishing third in last month's Open and 12th at the recent US PGA.

He also won the World Match Play at Wentworth in 2006 and was a finalist in the last two WGC-Accenture Championships in Arizona.

Against that, he needed a wild card last time after staying in the States then as well and scored only two half points from three games.

Rose was much more successful with three points out of four on his debut, partnering Poulter to two wins and beating Phil Mickelson no less in the singles.

He has played less than anybody in Europe this season, though, and after two brilliant US Tour victories earlier this summer he missed the halfway cut in the last two majors - just like Harrington.

Half the side are rookies - McIlroy, Kaymer, Fisher, Hanson and the Molinaris.

Out from the last team are Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Robert Karlsson, Oliver Wilson, Soren Hansen, Casey and Rose.

Only eight of the American side are known at the moment. Captain Corey Pavin adds four wild cards on Tuesday week and Tiger Woods is among those waiting for a call.

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