PADRAIG HARRINGTON’S RECENT form wasn’t enough to convince Jose Maria Olazabal to bump him up the pecking order for a Ryder Cup wildcard, the European captain said in Gleneagles this morning.
As was widely expected England’s Ian Poulter and Belgian rookie Nicolas Colsaerts were named as Olazabal’s two captain’s picks, leaving Harrington out in the cold for the first time since his debut appearance in 1999.
“I talked to him last night and I was very straight to the point,” the Spaniard said. “I know he tried hard. He played well at the Masters, he finished eight. He had a good US Open and then the following week he had a great Irish Open.
“He was 19th on the list. He was just a little bit down the list.
“I know he’s a great player. I would have loved to have him in the team, the same way I would have loved to have Paul Casey, Robert Karlsson, Henrik Stenson but you need to be playing good. Simple as that.
“I think he took it well and that was it,” he added.
It had been thought that Olazabal might consider Harrington — who has been on the winning team in four of the six Ryder Cups which he has played — to add some more experience to his squad. Instead he opted for the 29-year-old Colsaerts, a rookie at the biennial clash.
“We do have a huge amount of experience in that team,” Olazabal said when asked if Colsaerts’s inclusion was a gamble.
“Out of the 12 players, 11 of them have played Ryder Cup. They’ve proven they can handle that pressure, they have experience. We do have a very solid team in that regard. I don’t think it’s a gamble. When you look at the next guys on line, the next guy with Ryder Cup experience would have been Thomas Bjorn.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a gamble in that regard. I think the guy has shown a lot of heart, a lot of character.
“Obviously we know the Ryder Cup experience is very different to any regular event, even Major events, but I think he’s got the game to be honest. The desire and the determination to be there has been huge.”
The 2012 Ryder Cup takes place in Medinah Country Club, Illinois, from 28-30 September.
US captain Davis Love III will name the final four members of his team on Tuesday 4 September.
European team for Ryder Cup
Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Paul Lawrie, Graeme McDowell, Francesco Molinari, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Peter Hanson, Martin Kaymer, Ian Poulter, Nicolas Colsaerts.