Top 5: Controversial Ryder Cup selection moments
The Ryder Cup is one of the most historic and competitive tournaments within the game of golf and only a select few are ever chosen to don the famous European colours to take on the old foe, America.
We take a look back at some of the more controversial moments from some of Europe’s more recent team selections..
5. Paul McGinley snubs Luke Donald (2014 Ryder Cup)
Luke Donald had been a key player in European triumphs in 2004, ’06, ’10 and ’12 so when 2014 captain Paul McGinley swiped his name off the 12-man list it came as a major surprise.
The Irishman instead opted to go with Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Stephen Gallacher as his wild card picks at Gleneagles.
“That was a very, very difficult conversation – my relationship with Luke is very close,” said McGinley, after leaving the Englishman out.
“He was very, very disappointed, and rightly so. His record in the Ryder Cup stands with anybody in the game.”
The gamble paid off though, as McGinley left out one of the greatest short game and match play players in the world, Europe ran out winners by five points over their American foes (16 ½ to 11 ½).
4. Nick Faldo and Mark James’ feud in 1999
The 1999 Ryder Cup at Brookline still stands out as one of the most controversial clashes between Europe and the United States.
There were bitter exchanges and arguments between Ben Crenshaw and Mark James’ teams but perhaps the Europeans, who lost agonislingly by a single point, were distracted by the absence of Nick Faldo and his war of words.
Captain James favoured Jesper Parnevik and Andrew Coltart over Robert Karlsson, Faldo and two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer, in which Faldo reacted angrily with several outbursts having been involved in prior successful Ryder Cup campaigns.
James has since suggested in his book (Into the Bear Pit) that Faldo had undermined Europe’s Ryder Cup bid.
3. Harrington’s wife gives Casey the bad news (2010 Ryder Cup)
Paul Casey found out in the worst possible way he hadn’t been picked for the 2010 Ryder Cup team.
The Englishman was playing with Padraig Harrington at The Barclays in 2010, and on the seventh hole, he noticed Caroline Harrington giving the thumbs-up to her husband’s caddie.
European captain Colin Montgomerie had a tough decision with five players contending for his three picks. His first was Edoardo Molinari, which left two spots available between Justin Rose, Casey, Harrington and Luke Donald.
All four happened to be at the same PGA Tour event in New Jersey at the time of the announcement and Casey just happened to be playing alongside the Irishman at the time – go figure.
When asked if it was awkward to play the last 12 holes with Harrington, who had made the team, Casey replied with a smile, “It was difficult. Can I go now?”
2. Seve swapped Miguel Angel Martin for Jose Maria Olazabal (1997 Ryder Cup)
“The captain, Seve Ballesteros, is responsible for this,” Miguel Angel Martin claimed after being axed from the 1997 Ryder Cup team.
The Spaniard was requested by fax to play Valderrama, the host course, to prove his fitness after missing much of the season with a wrist injury.
After refusing to do so the Ryder Cup committee replaced him with Jose Maria Olazabal, a close friend of Ballesteros, along with two other picks without batting an eyelid.
Although captain Seve claimed to have no involvement in the decision, and despite a statement claiming he did, Martin was adamant: “They could wait until days before and name a replacement if I was not ready.
“I think this is an economic problem, not personal. It’s not the same having Miguel Angel Martin playing Tiger Woods as having Nick Faldo playing Tiger Woods.”
1. Bjorn lashes out after Woosnam omission (2006 Ryder Cup)
Thomas Bjorn took his exclusion from the 2006 Ryder Cup team badly, very badly.
“I’m shocked and have totally lost respect for Ian Woosnam,” revealed Bjorn.
“My relationship with him is completely dead. It looks like he needs to learn how to be a captain.”
Lee Westwood was chosen instead of the Dane, who had considerable experience within the competition, but Ian Woosnam opted for the Englishman and well, Bjorn went nuts.
“So far his captaincy has been the most pathetic I have ever seen,” added Bjorn.
“The man is barmy – to be captain and not communicate with a team or those in contention at all. I haven’t spoken to him for six months, and then I find that I’m not in the team by watching it on television. How can that be right?”