“It was,” Faldo said Sunday afternoon from Scotland after the public announcement of his two choices, “a tough call. You could sense that [Darren] was disappointed,” he added after confirming that he had broken the bad news to Clarke.
Hewitt, in fact, recaps the reasons in favor of Clarke:
- 10-7-3 career record in Ryder Cup play.
- Won twice on the European Tour this year, including just two weeks ago in the Netherlands.
- Clarke and England’s Lee Westwood, in particular, “have been a strong Ryder Cup pairing for the Euros. They are extremely close friends.”
- Many pundits point to the Euros “wonderful team chemistry,” of which much can be attributed theoretically to the jovial, cigar chomping and Guinness swilling Clarke, as one reason for their “smashing 9-point victories over the Americans in each of the last two Ryder Cups.”
Team chemistry aside, however, there’s no doubt that week in and week out, Poulter and Casey are probably in a different league than is Clarke. And it appears that intangibles such as team leadership or who can drink the most lager at team functions weren’t part of Faldo’s mindset.
Furthermore, Faldo seemed to relish in the role as bearer of bad news, at least with another seasoned Ryder Cup vet, Colin Montgomerie. Hewitt notes, for example:
[Monty] does have a 20-9-7 career record in the event. And he probably deserved better from Faldo than what he got. Asked if he had contacted Montgomerie, Faldo said he had left him a phone message.
Faldo added that the reason he missed connections with Monty was because, “apparently he was watching football this afternoon. Or shopping. One or the other.”
Was that really necessary?
All I can say is, thank god for the circus that has been the European team and the kind of press attention (at least in the UK) that Faldo has brought to the matter. Consider for a second, that if golf wonks didn’t have the Poulter-Casey-Clarke-Monty foursome and all of its sniping to salivate over these past few weeks, they would’ve been forced to muse over the theoretical “merits” of Hunter Mahan over J.B. Holmes for Team Azinger. Ugh.