Because Nick Faldo likes to see the world differently to everyone else.
There appears to be a consensus amongst golfing people in Europe that Paul Casey and Darren Clarke would be the most sensible selections for the 11th and 12th places on the team. Both have experience of Ryder Cup success, both have proven themselves in hostile competitive environments and most encouragingly, both appear to be playing well in recent weeks.
However, I don’t think Nick Faldo will lose a moment’s sleep worrying about the thoughts of ‘golfing people’ back home as he plots his own path to Ryder Cup glory.
He will have already formed his own view as to what is right for this team. This may or may not align with the popular consenus. While much of the speculation this week has focused on Ian Poulter and his unpopular decision not to play in Gleneagles, all of this may have missed the likelihood that Poulter is not really in contention for Faldo’s pick at all. Ditto for Monty. If you were challenged with picking a list of the greatest ever European Ryder Cup players, no one would omit Montgomerie. But for all of his former achievement, he doesn’t appear to have the consistency in his game this year to merit selection.
So, who might disrupt the Clarke & Casey selection? The answer lies in the dogfight for the final automatic selection places. Three Englishmen will tee it up today knowing their qualification is on the line. Oliver Wilson is in the best position before the final round at Gleneagles but Nick Dougherty and Ross Fisher are still battling against the odds to make it. It is entirely possible that their efforts will make a firm impression on Faldo, who already has a keen interest in their development. Don’t forget that a controversial appointment is likely to give Faldo a thrill rather than make him feel uncomfortable.
So, keep an eye on the man that just fails to make automatic qualification. Especially if his name is Nick Dougherty.
Or maybe Faldo is a consensus guy after all….