Bjorn Completes Team with Garcia, Poulter, Casey and Stenson
from September 28-30, and he will be hoping that his decision to pick a desperately out-of-form Sergio Garcia does not come back to haunt him.
The Spaniard missed the cut in all four majors in 2018 and failed to make the FedEx Cup Playoffs. He then surprised a lot of people by failing to seek entry into either the Czech Masters or the Made In Denmark. He joins Paul Casey, Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson, meaning that Matt Wallace, a three-time winner in 2018, misses out, as does Russell Knox, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Eddie Pepperell.
Bjorn said: "You have to look at Sergio in certain ways. Going in without him is like a football team without a captain. He does so much in the team room. He is everything that the European Ryder Cup team is all about. I have watched him as a player and there is something about him and I believe he will go to France and deliver on and off the golf course. I can trust Sergio with everything I want to do."
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Garcia admitted that he had endured a poor season and thanks Bjorn for showing faith in him. “Thomas knows what I bring to the team room. I love the Ryder Cup and I have been working hard on my game. I will try to be as ready as I possibly can to bring the Ryder Cup back to Europe. Everybody knows how much I love the Ryder Cup."
Of Casey, Bjorn said: "He showed great commitment by rejoining the European Tour and he has won in America this year. He couldn’t have done any more.” The player was delighted. “This is an amazing team and I am so excited to be a member for my first Ryder Cup in 10 years. I have worked hard and stayed focus and have played really well in the past two, three, four years. Making this team was a big goal for me. I am playing some of the best golf of my life and believe I can make a big contribution. I can’t tell you how much I am up for this. We are going to playing a great team but my record in matchplay is a good one. I really can’t wait."
There was never any doubt that Poulter would be chosen. Bjorn said: "There is no surprise that I have picked him. When he won in Houston I knew he was on track to be a member of this team. I met him in the car park in Augusta and he told me he was going to be a member of this team. He is a special person. Him and Sergio maybe should have been footballers because they are such great team players. Making the team was his only focus for this year. “
Poulter is thrilled. “It feels really special to be a member of this great team. It means everything to me.I am getting goosebumps just thinking about it. I absolutely can’t wait. Medinah was a lot time ago but it still comes up from time to time - it was very special for me. The Ryder Cup means everything to me. It keeps me going. I fell to 208 in the world rankings and that little gold trophy kept my heart beating."
There were doubts about Stenson, mostly surrounding his fitness.
Bjorn said: “Yes, he has had injury problems. He had a decent start to the season and played well at The Masters and the US Open. He is now fit. His focus changed from personal goals to being a member of this team. The calmness he brings to the team means he is a great character to have around. He has also formed a great partnership with Justin Rose, and Justin would have found it difficult for him not to have been there. As a pair they know what it takes.”
Stenson said: “Some of my greatest golf memories come from the Ryder Cup and I am hoping to go to Paris with my very, very best form. It is going to be a great venue and we have as strong a team as we have ever had, but so do the Americans. It is going to be a great contest."
So the full team is Francesco Molinari, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Alex Noren, Thorbjorn Olesen, Ian Poulter, Paul Casey, Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia
Bjorn concludes by saying: "If I had written down 12 names before I started my captaincy it would not have been far away from this. This is a group of guys who can do the job at Le Golf National."
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