Sergio Garcia has given his backing to his Ryder Cup captain insisting that Jose Maria Olazabal would be justified if he does not take Padraig Harrington as a Ryder Cup wildcard next Monday. Speaking at Bethpage, Garcia denied that any bad blood would influence Olazabal’s decision to overlook the three time major winner.
After confirming his place at Medinah with last week’s win at the Wyndham Championship, Garcia was asked if he believed an argument between Olazabal and Harrington at the 2003 Seve Trophy would be a factor.
Garcia did not discuss the incident, when Olazabal became annoyed with the Dubliner for drawing attention to his repairing of a mark on a green in Valencia, but did stand by his captain’s right in selection.
He said, “I’m sure that Jose is going to pick whoever he thinks is best for the team, I don’t know if it includes Harrington or not. If not there are a lot of other guys playing very well, too. I don’t think he’s a sure pick.”
Harrington has been a part of a winning Ryder Cup team four times and feels a win is a must here at the Barclays to force Olazabal’s hand. Speaking at the USPGA two weeks ago, Olazabal declared that it would take “something extraordinary” by Harrington to make it to Medinah next month. The Irishman countered by saying that a win against a field boasting nine of the world’s top ten would surely qualify as “extraordinary”.
Harrington has always denied any enmity between him and Olazabal. The Irishman will hope that Nicolas Colsaerts achieves a top-two placing at the Johnnie Walker Championship, which starts today, to displace Martin Kaymer from the last automatic berth.
Colsaerts is currently one of two odds on favourites to be given the nod by Olazabal and is also the only player at Gleneagles with the chance to make the team by right.
Martin Kaymer surprised Colsaerts by choosing to skip the final qualifying event in Scotland, despite not being eligible for the first tournament of the FedEx Cup.
“I’m amazed like everyone else,” said Colsaerts. “I have one more shot at it and I’m going to try to make the most of it.”
The Belgian made a good start today was top of the field at the turn in Scotland. Kaymer however, has not recorded a top ten finish since April and surely cannot expect a pick from Olazábal.
Ian Poulter is the current favourite, a near certainty, with odds as low as 1-500 from Ladbroke’s. Two other potential candidates like David Lynn or Rafael Cabrera-Bello could “do an Edoardo” and match the elder Mollinari brother’s heroics in forcing the captain’s hand with a win at the same event two years ago.
However, Colsaert’s seventh place at the Wyndham has put him firmly in the box seat. The team is, as yet, without a rookie, but this big-hitter has all the attributes for the eye-straining track in Chicago.
“I’d like to think that I’ve showed basically everything I could have done to get the pick,” said Colsaerts. “But who knows what the captain is thinking.”