Sunday, August 31, 2008

Faldo's Picks for the Ryder Cup

Well, Faldo picked Ian Poulter and Paul Casey to round out his team. I haven't been following the stats and rankings all year like he has, but I probably would have gone with Darren Clarke and Martin Kaymer. Clarke for obvious reasons: he loves the Ryder Cup, the Ryder Cup team loves him and he won last week. Kaymer, because I looked at both lists they pick the team from this morning and he was ranked 10th on both of them. But Poulter and Casey bring their own positive qualities to the team. They have both participated in the Ryder Cup before. Poulter made that great charge at the British Open earlier in the year, showing that he has an aggressive attitude that will be a plus for the Ryder Cup. Casey, while having an OK record in the Ryder Cup, also brings to the table a view colored by living and playing in America, which will be an asset since this year's competition is in Kentucky.

There were some points brought up during Faldo's press conference which were worth noting. One was about Faldo only having the one assistant captain, Jose Maria Olazabal. Faldo said that he preferred to be the one gathering all of the information and making the decisions based on what he knows and that he thought that having just one assistant will be enough. My view is: if people wanted a captain who would have 10 assistants then they should have picked someone else. Faldo is going to do things his way and that's the essence of having a single captain of any sport. The reporters asked about this conspiracy theory that Ian Poulter was 'on the team' when he decided to play in America. Again, I haven't followed this closely in the news, but Poulter has put forth the explanation that he needed 15 events to keep his card on the PGA Tour and to me, that sounds reasonable. I'm guessing that the extra tournaments that are played after the Tour Championship are still options for Poulter to use to keep his card or whatever, but the European Tour year starts before the calendar does so it isn't like Poulter has a lot of wriggle room there. And if you're going to play US events, then they might as well be the Fed Ex Cup playoffs in America for two reasons: more money and they are in America, the same place that's hosting the Ryder Cup. It really doesn't do Poulter much good to play in America after the Ryder Cup.

There were some questions about Montgomerie and Clarke, as you might expect. Faldo did a good job of answering each one with the same 'there were tough decisions to be made and I had to make them'. He didn't give any details of conversations or thought processes which is good. That would have only led to devisiveness among the team once the media reported it and then sought responses from Montgomerie and Clarke. If Montgomerie and Clarke truly love the Ryder Cup, then they will provide vague responses to the media's questions and finish every response with "I wish this year's team the best of luck at Valhalla." The way I look at it, all the European Tour players are on the team, it's just a matter of who's called up to play.

For me, the best part of the conference was the Jose Maria part :) Of course. He reported that he stopped taking the medication he was on a couple of weeks ago and so far felt pretty good, but that it was a wait and see situation. He also said that while he and Faldo talk and he gives Faldo his opinion, that Faldo was still captain, Faldo makes the decisions and Jose Maria supports them. That's a team attitude for you.

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