x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Ryder Cup heartbreak for Casey and Rose

Montgomerie makes difficult decisions and Harrington, Donald and Edoardo Molinari are the European wild cards to face US in Wales.

Edoardo Molinari on his way to victory yesterday - and a Ryder Cup wild card spot.
Edoardo Molinari on his way to victory yesterday - and a Ryder Cup wild card spot.

Paul Casey and Justin Rose will not be part of Europe's bid to win back the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor in Wales in just over a month. Colin Montgomerie, faced with arguably the most difficult decision any captain has had regarding wild cards, last night named Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald and Edoardo Molinari as the three men to complete his line-up.

They join automatic qualifiers Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter, Ross Fisher, Francesco Molinari, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Peter Hanson. Because the so-called FedEx Four - Harrington, Casey, Donald and Rose - chose to stay in America in the last two weeks when returning to Europe could have seen them qualify, Montgomerie was left with five players in the world top 22 chasing a pick.

He had to leave one of the four out and it also left him facing calls to omit another because they put their US Tour careers ahead of the Ryder Cup. Montgomerie asked them all to play at Gleneagles and they all turned him down, but the Scot, who was critical of Poulter for doing the same thing two years ago, insisted that at the end of the day his job was to pick the strongest side. No brothers have played in the same match since Bernhard and Geoff Hunt in 1963 and Edoardo Molinari piled on the pressure with a three-birdie finish to win the Johnnie Walker Championship in dramatic fashion.

Meanwhile, Rose was lying fifth, Casey and Harrington 12th and Donald 28th with a round to go in the Barclays Classic in New Jersey, but Montgomerie chose not to wait for the final result there before making his announcement. In Harrington's favour was that he was the only three-time major winner among the candidates. Against him, though, was the fact that he did not win a game either in the defeat two years ago or the nine-point victory at The K Club in 2006.

The biggest pluses for Donald, who missed the last match following wrist surgery, were that he has lost only one of seven cup games, has a perfect four wins out of four in foursomes, was third at Celtic Manor in June's Wales Open and was ranked 10th in the world. Jimenez and Hanson were able to start celebrating after the Johnnie Walker without waiting for Montgomerie's decision an hour later. Jimenez needed a top nine finish to make sure and was joint third, while Hanson required a top 43 finish and was 19th.

* Press Association