Considering the number of wildcard contenders who missed out on a Ryder Cup pick from Luke Donald, it is hardly surprising that questions were raised over the six players the Team Europe captain eventually opted for.
However, the omission of one player is proving particularly controversial. Adrian Meronk had seemed a lock for the Ryder Cup, particularly after he won May’s Italian Open at the venue for this year’s match, Marco Simone.
That victory followed wins in the 2022 Irish Open and the Australian Open in December as the Pole built a compelling case for inclusion in his first Ryder Cup. In the end, Donald opted for Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry, Justin Rose, Sepp Straka, Nicolai Hojgaard and Ludvig Aberg to join the six automatic qualifiers and complete his 12-player team.
While there is understandable disappointment in the Meronk camp over his omission, his coach Matthew Tipper has posted a gracious response to the news on X (formerly Twitter).
He wrote: “Obviously we’re disappointed as we’ve had a great campaign and thought we had done enough. It will hurt for a bit but we will move on and we wish the team well in Italy and we will be supporting them in the hopes of bringing the cup back to Europe.
“I’m incredibly proud of Adrian and his play this year and a special thanks to his caddy Stuart Beck who has been outstanding. As a team we will regroup and as always tomorrow we will begin again.”
Meronk also responded to the news with a simple message saying: “Good luck @RyderCupEurope” as Donald’s team look to reclaim the trophy from the US after losing two years ago at Whistling Straits.
Had Meronk made the team, he would have been the first Pole to do so, but he will now need to wait at least another two years the opportunity to take that honour, when the match once again returns to the US at Bethpage Black.
There is certainly not much time for Meronk to dwell on what might have been as he returns to the K Club later this week to defend his Irish Open title, in a tournament that will also see an appearance from Donald.
Beyond that, Donald will be hoping that, as well as the vast experience he has turned to in Fleetwood, Lowry and Rose, Ryder Cup…