GLENEAGLES, Scotland // Ian Poulter and Paul Casey were chosen as wild-card picks for Europe's Ryder Cup team today. The Europe captain Nick Faldo made his announcement shortly after the end of the Johnnie Walker Championship. "I've been watching these guys through the summer," Faldo said. "Ian is a very determined guy. I love his attitude and what he did at The Open - that back nine he played with the intention to win and had that emotional feeling." Poulter could have finished in the top 10 and earned an automatic berth by finishing third in the Johnnie Walker Championship, but he skipped the event.
"Maybe I should have gone to play Gleneagles, but I stuck by my word," Poulter said. "Looking back at the time I made the right decision for me, but it was so difficult to choose the right thing to do and it's obviously been a very difficult decision to try to get across." Faldo said he had been keeping an eye on Casey and waiting for his putting to improve. "I've been watching Paul play and he has been playing absolutely the best through the summer," Faldo said.
"He has an extremely good record in the Ryder Cup and, going back, the Walker Cup." Oliver Wilson clinched the 10th and final automatic spot by finishing in a tie for 10th place at Gleneagles on today, while Justin Rose and Soren Hansen also qualified to make their debuts at the competition. Padraig Harrington, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson, Robert Karlsson, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Graeme McDowell have already made the team.
Nick Dougherty would have had a chance to make the team by winning the Johnnie Walker Championship, but his 69 left him in seventh place. Darren Clarke, Colin Montgomerie and Carl Petterson were among the players hoping to get a wild-card selection. "Nick rang me after my last round at Gleneagles to say that I wasn't going to be one of his picks and I simply wished him all the best," Clarke said in a statement.
"Obviously I am disappointed that I wasn't selected, but I have dealt with much worse and it will make me all the more determined to make the team that will play in Wales next time." The United States captain Paul Azinger said he was surprised by Faldo's picks. "I thought it was between Casey and Poulter. I thought Clarke was a lock," Azinger said. "But the guys he picked are really good. His dilemma is a nice one to have. You look at all the guys he had to choose ... I don't have that. It's not like I have a bunch of veterans with monster records at the Ryder Cup."