Many had expected Irishman Padraig Harrington to make the cut, but Olazabal extended an invitation to England’s Ian Poulter, 36, and Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts, 29, ahead of the three-time major winner.
It would have been another wildcard spot for him, following a call-up from Colin Montgomerie for 2010’s successful European campaign, but he had few complaints. The news followed Harrington’s erratic display at the Barclay’s Tournament, which Nick Watney won.
“”Two 75s on the card doesn’t look very good when you’re trying to show form,” Harrington admitted after the Farmingdale event. “I’ve won four out of six [Ryder Cups], and I’d dearly love to be there.”
He won’t after losing out to Colsaerts. This will be the Belgian’s first Ryder Cup–he is the only debutant in the European team–and represents a significant upturn in fortune following sever years of second tier golf. Olazabal may indeed be hoping that exuberance and pressure bring out the best in the inexperience player, rather than hoping for Harrington to roll back the years.
Meanwhile, Poulter is looking forward to his fourth Ryder Cup. “I’m thrilled. To get the call last night from Jose was a great moment. I want to pour some passion over the 18 holes at Medinah like I know best.”
What will have secured Poulter his place is his personality. Often confrontational and able to wind up his opponents; Poulter has a history of enjoying matchplay golf. He won three points in 2010 and the top points scorer overall in ’08.
The team to face USA is as follows: Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland); Justin Rose (England); Graeme McDowell (Northern Ireland); Paul Lawrie (Scotland); Francesco Molinari (Italy); Luke Donald (England); Lee Westwood (England); Sergio Garcia (Spain); Peter Hanson (Sweden); Martin Kaymer (Germany); Iain Poulter (England); Nicolas Colsaerts (Belgium).