By Greg Moore

GolfWRX Staff

Sorry for you Padraig Harrington fans who wanted to see the three-time major champion make the European team for the Ryder Cup, but Jose Maria Olazabal made the right decisions for his team.

Let’s dig a bit deeper into why Ian Poulter and Nicolas Colsaerts were the best (and I mean logical) selections.

Colsaerts was  No. 9 in European Ryder Cup points and No. 12 in World Ryder Cup points. Poulter was No. 17 in Euro Ryder Cup points and No. 11 in World Ryder Cup points. Harrington stood No. 27 and No. 19 respectively on those points lists, and there were a lot of players ahead of him that were playing a lot better who were also left off the team.

Ian Poulter

This will be Poulter’s fourth Ryder Cup.  He was on the winning teams in 2004 and 2010 and on the losing side in 2008. His record in eleven matches is eight wins and three losses. IJP is also the winner of both of 2010 WGC – Accenture Match Play and 2011 Volvo World Match Play. In the qualifying period for Ryder Cup points, Poulter has had nine top 10s including victory in the 2011 JBWere Masters.

Who can forget just how fired up Poulter gets, not just in match play but for the Ryder Cup, his mates on the Euro team and his country.

His singles record is 3-0-0 with wins over Chris Riley 3 & 2, Steve Stricker 3 & 2 and Matt Kuchar 5 & 4.

Here’s a link to IJP’s Euro Tour page

Nicolas Colsaerts

He’s the only rookie on the European team. He is No. 9 in the point standings. His match play record is stellar as he finished runner up in 2011 at the Volvo World Match Play and he won the Volvo World Match Play Championship in May, defeating Graeme McDowell in the finals in Spain.

Link to Colsaerts Euro Tour page

This will be the first time that the European team has been made of its 12 top players in the Official World Ranking with every player inside the top 35 in the Official Golf World Rankings.

As for Harrington, he’s 48th in the OWGR. So you can argue that maybe one of the others players left off like Alvaro Quiros, Marcel Siem or David Lynn should have made the team but the numbers just didn’t add up for Harrington this year.

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour Talk” forum. 

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Greg, a member of the PGA of America for 30 years, travels around the U.S. taking photos for on the PGA Tour, Champions Tour, Tour, LPGA Tour and Symetra Tour. He also covers collegiate and amateur golf, and is a contributing writer for GolfWRX.


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  1. I think Olazabal has made the best decision too. Personally, I don’t think the captains need to justify their picks, they are simply picks that the captains have the discretion to make.

    I really like ability and talent of Nicolas Colsaerts. I can only anticipate the contribution he will make to the team. He will definitely be a formidable opponent.

    I am not partisan to either side. The Ryder Cup is such a great competition that produces some of the best theatre in sport, if I am partial I am partial to watching these great golfers compete against each other. Enjoy the Ryder Cup.