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.