As the event’s defending champion Adrian Meronk didn’t need any added motivation to play well this week at the 2023 Horizon Irish Open, but a phone call Sunday threw gasoline on his already lit fire.
European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald made his six captain’s picks on Monday, and after finishing fifth on the European points list and 11th on the world list, Meronk was told to expect a call regardless of the outcome. Following his T-13 at the Omega European Masters in Switzerland on Sunday, the 30-year-old was in a good mood.
“To be honest, I was in shock,” Meronk said of the news that he wasn’t selected for the 12-player squad bound for Marco Simone Golf and Country Club near Rome later this month. “I was expecting I have a pretty decent chance to be on the team, but it was a quite shocking call.”
“I heard from (Donald) that it was tough for him, as well. To be honest when I — when he said I’m not going, I kind of stopped listening,” he said of the call. “He was saying that someone had to stay home. It was close obviously and stuff like that. Obviously I wouldn’t want to be in his position. I knew it was tough for him. But yeah, as I said, it was a big shock, and I didn’t really focus after that.”
In 11 starts on the PGA Tour this season Meronk missed six cuts and had just three top-25 finishes. On the DP World Tour he earned a win at the Australian Open in December and the Italian Open in May to highlight 11 top-25 finishes in 18 starts.
“It’s been emotional time for me to be honest from shock to sadness to anger, and now I’m trying to turn it into motivation going into this week,” said Meronk ahead of his title defense at the K Club on Ireland’s Kildare countryside. “Obviously it’s a hard one to swallow. I thought I’ve done enough to be on the team, but it is what it is. I wish them good luck and I will just focus on my game and move forward.”
“Monday, first half of the day was more sadness and disbelief. But then anger, because to be honest last year and a half, I spent a lot of time thinking about this and that was my goal,” he added. “So you know, suddenly, I was just realizing that it’s not going to happen this year. So it was just sadness turning into anger. I think it’s normal process of emotions to be honest.”
Those who believe Meronk was snubbed for the team will point to captain’s picks like rookies Ludvig Aberg and Nicolai Hojgaard, one of which has been highlight praised…