‘FedEx Four’ should have more Euro loyalty
AUCHTERARDER, Scotland – Shame on you Paul Casey, Luke Donald, Padraig Harrington and Justin Rose.
Have you forgotten where you come from?
Is money now your sole guiding force?
By choosing to play in The Barclays on the PGA Tour, the first event in the FedEx Cup cash cow, instead of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, the last counting event in the Ryder Cup race, you have revealed that money is more important than the honor of playing in the Ryder Cup.
All four could have earned their places on the Ryder Cup team by playing well at Gleneagles. Indeed, they could have wrapped up their Ryder Cup spots long ago. A few more European Tour events on their schedule could have done the trick.
Monty admitted this week that he asked the “FedEx Four” to play at Gleneagles. All four turned him down.
Thanks a bunch, guys!
Loyalty to the European circuit certainly isn’t something you can accuse these four of, especially Harrington and Rose. Excluding the WGC events and U.S. majors, these two have only played three times in Europe this year, and one of those events was the Open Championship.
Casey and Donald have shown more commitment. They have played in six and five events, respectively. However, they stand with Harrington and Rose as snubbing Montgomerie in his bid to have the nine best players make the European team automatically.
There was a time when every European player would have pulled out all the stops to make the Ryder Cup team. Not now.
Money has changed everything.
Casey and Co. could learn something from Miguel Angel Jimenez, Peter Hanson, Simon Dyson and Ross McGowan. These four have played the last five weeks in a row to try to make the Euro team. Two of them have gone to great lengths to secure their berths.
Ross McGowan played through a shoulder injury to try to make his first Ryder Cup, eventually succumbing to it in the opening round of the Johnnie Walker. He was so desperate to play in the match that he’s spent the past three weeks playing on painkillers.
Jimenez was so keen to make the team he cancelled plans to attend his nephew’s wedding to play at Gleneagles.
How Monty must wish Casey and Co. had the same do-or-die attitude as McGowan and Jimenez.
It’s not just the selfishness of the “FedEx Four” that rankles, but also their undermining of the European cause. They have lessened Europe’s chances of winning by not making the extra effort to make the team. Had all four done so then Monty’s position would have been strengthened. He would have been free to pick players like Robert Karlsson and Edoardo Molinari. Instead, he is going to waste picks on players who should have made the team on merit.
Rank and file Euro Tour members were diplomatic enough not give the FedEx Four a roasting on record, but rest assured they are not happy. Maybe what rankles most is that these guys have built their fortunes because of the European Tour. Harrington has over €20 million in Euro Tour earnings, Casey €11 million, Rose €7 million and Donald €6 million.
These figures don’t include PGA Tour earnings, money earned off other tours, appearance fees or endorsements. It begs the question: How much money do they need? Surely they are rich enough that they could have made the effort to play at Gleneagles. After all, there will be plenty more FedEx Cups.
The Euro Tour is where these guys honed their games when they first turned pro. Indeed, the tour went out of its way to make sure these young stars of the future got starts.
You’d have thought that largesse would be remembered in the tour’s hour of need.
These guys sure have short memories.
There was a time when winning the Ryder Cup team was arguably the most important factor to any European player. In fact, there was a time when that applied to Casey and Co. Winning the biennial match was the glue that held this tour together. Europe won Ryder Cups it probably shouldn’t have because teams were hungrier, because it meant more to them than it did to the U.S. side.
Monty is widely expected to pick three of the FedEx Four as his wild card picks. Maybe he should rethink that option. Maybe he should go with the guys who are hungriest. Maybe that’s the key to winning back the Ryder Cup.
It’s worked in the past.