A record EIGHT PGAs of Europe members countries were represented when European Captain Jose Maria Olazabal revealed his two wild cards to add to the ten automatic qualifiers for his team to defend the Ryder Cup against USA at the Medinah Country Club, Chicago.
With Nicolas Colsaerts’s selection putting Belgium in the mix for the first time when he was named – as widely expected – alongside England’s Ian Poulter, the European team is truly representative of the golfing continent.
The Olazabal dozen has spread representation across Belgium , England (4), Germany, Ireland (2), Italy, Scotland, Spain and Sweden…two more countries than in the team that won at Celtic Manor two years ago when there was no Belgian and no Scottish players in the team.
Paul Lawrie’s magnificent run of form culminating in a further success at Gleneagles has restored Scotland to the mix while a similar, sparkling return to form by Sergio Garcia has ensured Spain remain on board despite the absence of Miguel Angel Jiminez.
The two wild card selections means that, because of indifferent form throughout the year, Ireland’s three-times major winner, Padraig Harrington, misses out on the Ryder Cup team for the first time since 1997, though neither Poulter nor Colsaerts were either surprise or controversial choices.
“Every one of you guessed that Ian was going to be there,” said Olazabel in making his announcement to the assembled media. “He has a great Ryder Cup record and he’s playing well. Nicolas is going to be the only rookie in the team but his match-play record is very good – he won the World Match Play Championship in Spain this year.”
Colsaerts expressed his delight at being chosen. “This has been something I’ve wanted since I was a little kid,” said the 29-year-old. “I’m living proof that if you want something badly it’s just a matter of time, if you put in the effort.”