ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Common sense has prevailed over the choice of this year’s European Ryder Cup wild card picks. The final two members selected to the team will be selected a day later this time around to avoid the debacle that surrounded the 2010 picks.
England’s Paul Casey found out he hadn’t been selected to the European team while he was in the middle of his final round during The Barclays on the PGA Tour. That event coincided with the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles on the European Tour, the final counting event for European Ryder Cup points.
So the European team was chosen before Casey finished his final round. It highlighted a crazy flaw with the European selection process. It meant a European like Casey could have won The Barclays, but would have been too late to make the European team, all because of time difference.
European captain Jose Maria Olazabal has ensured that scenario won’t happen this year. He will make his two choices the day after the conclusion of the Johnnie Walker and The Barclays.
“I think the scenario last time was a delicate one, especially for the captain, and the players playing in the States,” Olazabal said. “We’ve made a decision regarding that: it’s going to be the Monday following Gleneagles. We are going to wait until whatever happens in the States before we make the decision.”
Casey was quite vocal about the situation two years ago, but Olazabal said he did not consult the Englishman on the matter. He made up his own mind.
“It was not a comfortable situation for anybody. It wouldn’t be fair for anybody playing in the States that might be on the verge of winning that tournament. It would be completely unfair to name those two picks before the guy even tees off.
“Just three weeks from the Ryder Cup, I would like to have an eye on players that are hot at that time. If a guy is on the verge of winning and wins that (PGA) tournament, it means that he’s on top of his game. So it would be a good idea to have a thought about him.”
Olazabal will not name his vice-captains until later this year, probably at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in May, the European Tour’s flagship event.
As for thoughts on playing in the match himself, he put paid to those stories following his 6th place finish in the Volvo Golf Champions in South Africa last week.
“I want to make it clear to the team: even if the skies fall on me and I manage to play well and win a lot of tournaments and make the team, I am not playing. Period.”
So there you have it. Olazabal certainly won’t be delaying the wild cards to consider picking himself.