Monday, 1 September 2008

Faldo's captaincy off to an appalling start

Despite his considerable achievements on the golf course it was always difficult to warm to Nick Faldo when he was a player. There is still an arrogant air to the man when he is interviewed on TV, an air which is compounded by the jargon of neologisms which is his medium; a legacy of his over-coached, over analysed route to the top.

It is unsurprising then, that as captain of this year’s Ryder Cup team, he has elected to pick another arrogant man, Ian Poulter, at the expense of in form Darren Clarke. In fairness to Faldo, if he has a high opinion of himself, it at least is built on foundations of a successful career, during which he won six major championships. Poulter in contrast has yet to seriously challenge in a major and is selected for the team on the back of a series of missed cuts.

Even more galling, whilst Clarke and others competed in the Johnny Walker Championship last week, seeking points and performances to push themselves into the Ryder Cup frame, Poulter eschewed the possibility of qualifying by right and chose instead to chase dollars in a lucrative American tournament. Poulter clearly assumed that Faldo would select him as a wild card regardless of this decision, and lo and behold he was correct.

Meanwhile Darren Clarke, who won all 3 points for which he competed in the last Ryder Cup despite having played precious little golf prior to the competition, is in a rich vein of form, winning the KLM Open in Holland two weeks ago. Bernard Gallagher has observed that the decision to include Poulter at Clarke’s expense will cost dearly in terms of team morale. It is an ominous portent for Faldo’s captaincy.


Aidan said...

To be honest I am not sure how much team morale matters in a sport that is so individualistic. It is hard on Darren Clarke but if the truth be told he did not qualify on merit and Poulter was closer to an automatic spot. If Darren Clarke had have finished Top 5 at Gleneagles then he would have got it but I am sure Falso actually wanted Poulter and I think that he will end up doing very well when all is said and done.

Chekov said...

I think if you look at Europe's record in the Ryder Cup, probably from a weak position in terms of players, team spirit has got them results, which by the form book they had no right to get. Particularly given that chemistry is so important in the fourballs and foursomes. Clarke was right at the heart of the victory at the K Club. He has an awesome record and Poulter should be omitted, even simply because of the disdain he has shown his teammates and the competition by refusing to compete at Gleneagles last week.

Hernandez said...

I agree that Clarke should have been in the team, but at the expense of Casey rather than Poulter. Casey has proved time and time again that he his a bottler in the major tournaments (previous Masters for example). Poulter, despite being a burk, is pretty good on his day and generally more reliable. Leaving Monty out was the correct decision.

Chekov said...

Poulter should've been left out on principle. However McDowell said it all about Casey the other day when he called him a 'pretty solid player'. Damned by faint praise. He's been selected because he suits American courses. He's an American style player.

Dinamo said...

Clarke and Casey would have been the right choice. Poulter is a show pony who got clearance from faldo to attempt to hoover up some dollars rather than support the gleneagles event. (failed as he missed the cut).

Darren we know is in form and has the character. casey a winner last time. Monty is a legend and the embodiment of decency and britishness and should have been picked.