Bunker Mentality

Monty’s picks all make sense

Bunker Mentality

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So the picks are in - and the debating can begin.

Colin Montgomerie was caught between a rock and a hard place when it came to picking his wildcards. Harrington or Casey? Donald or Rose? It was like being asked who do you love more: your mum or your dad.

However, Bunker Mentality was impressed with Montgomerie's final selections and more so with the measured reasoning he gave for his selections — if only he paid his love life such attention (zing!)

First up, let's look at the no-brainer pick of the three… and it is not the three-times Major winner Padraig Harrington, nor the serial Ryder Cup points scorer Luke Donald.

The only real travesty bomb that Montgomerie could have dropped on Sunday would have been if he left out Edoardo Molinari.

The Italian might not be a name that resonates with the man on the typical British high street - but the way he won his title at Gleneagles was simply sensational and more than merited his ticket to Celtic Manor.

When Molinari went on that birdie spree at the end of his round at Gleneagles you could sense he was focused on that Ryder Cup spot more than the Johnnie Walker title and £232,000 winner's cheque that went with it. It showed just how much he wants to shine in this event.

As Monty himself said afterwards: "In my time as a player on the European Tour I don't think I've seen a finish of that quality under that pressure ever. That's the kind of player we need to regain the Ryder Cup."

Of course the great thing about picking Edoardo is that it immeasurably makes his brother Francesco a more dangerous proposition in the event.

You can pencil the brothers in as a pairing already for at least three of the four rounds on the opening two days and don't be surprised to see them take a healthy chunk of points for the Europeans. Let us not forget that they paired up together to win the World Cup in 2009.

Next we look at the three Englishmen who were sweating yesterday — Luke Donald, Paul Casey and Justin Rose - and again you could make a healthy case for all three of them to be selected.

Donald was the only one who was picked and no doubt it was his outstanding Ryder Cup record that swung things in his favour.

Again Monty's reasoning was spot on — Donald has only lost one Ryder Cup match in seven. The Ryder Cup is a unique beast that does funny things to people's games, so when you have somebody who you know can deliver in that environment you would be a fool not to use them.

Rose is undoubtedly desperately unfortunate to miss out after winning twice on the US PGA Tour this year but the key word in that phrase is "US" — he, like Casey, could have played a few more European events if they really wanted to get in the team. Both of them rolled the dice by largely ignoring the European Tour all season and they cannot really complain now that they have not secured a pick.

If the Cup was Stateside this year then maybe Rose's two triumphs would have more credence, but he was just unfortunate that there were so many other talented players pining for a wildcard this season.

And this of course leads us to the final selection, Harrington. Given the Irishman's suspect form this season, he is undoubtedly the luckiest of the three players to have been selected.

However, he has a depth of big-time experience that gives his presence a level of weight that is just too great to ignore. The European team is clearly loaded with talent, but the lack of big tournament winning experience is the one question mark hovering over it.

Harrington's three Major titles mean he has won more Majors that the rest of the team put together. Europe will go into this Ryder Cup with six rookies and what better man to partner one of the newbies than the immensely knowledgeable and popular Harrington?

There surely isn't any question that these rookies can ask that Harrington won't be able to answer.  He will act as a captain on the course and let us not forget he is also still an exceptional golfer who, even in a poor season by his standards, has had five top-10 finishes on the US Tour this time out.

In terms of talent and trophies he is the closest thing the European side has to a Tiger Woods — and if you were American captain would you really leave Tiger out of your team? 

Of course pretty much all the points that Bunker Mentality has made were made by Montgomerie when announcing his selections on Sunday.

He has clearly thought long, hard and thoroughly about his picks, and let us also not forget that he knows all these players personally. He is aware of the type of personality traits they possess that could help, or indeed hinder, a team environment; and that is something us internet blogging warriors looking in from the outside would do well to remember sometimes.

This team looks strong, exciting and balanced. All that's now left to do is to bring the Cup home.

Player of the week: Easy… Edoardo Molinari's performance at Gleneagles will live long in the memory — more of the same at Celtic Manor please!

Shot of the week: Matt Kuchar's miracle second shot on the first hole of his play-off with Martin Laird at Ridgewood helped him secure the Barclays title for the biggest win of his burgeoning career.  After hitting his drive into heavy rough on the left side, Kuchar punched a low approach shot that landed short of the green, hopped on and rolled to the back before turning left and following a slope down to within three feet of the cup.

Rankings: Edoardo Molinari climbs into the top 20 of the world rankings after his success at Gleneagles — he's 15th; while Kuchar's win at the Barclays sees him skyrocket from 23 into 10th position.

Quote of the week: "It's been the hardest job any captain has had because the standard of golf has been incredible." He hasn't always done himself favours with the press in the past, but Montgomerie showed humility and class when making his final selections.

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