Thomas Bjorn knows exactly what Luke Donald will have felt like on the phone call telling Adrian Meronk he had just missed out on his Ryder Cup dream – but says the captain and his staff now have to turn their attentions to the 12-man team after making the “gut-wrenching” decisions.
Bjorn had to make some big calls himself for his 2018 European team, who went on to claim an emphatic success at Le Golf National, including leaving out Matt Wallace and Rafa Cabrera-Bello.
In more than an echo of Meronk missing out, Wallace won three times that season and four times in 15 months, but missed as Bjorn opted for experience in Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter and Paul Casey.
Bjorn says making those phone calls is the hardest part of Ryder Cup captaincy, but says they must now move on from the talk about Donald’s picks and focus on the 12 men heading to Rome.
“For the captain that’s the toughest day of all when you have to make those phone calls, it really is just gut wrenching,” Bjorn told Sky Sports after shooting 66 to lead the Irish Open.
“But he’s gone with his feelings, he’s gone with what he believes is going to be the right team to be able to win the Ryder Cup.
“And he had to leave somebody out, who arguably in some many people’s worlds could have been there and some people think should have been there.
“But that’s the way the game is sometimes and we go with these 12 and our focus now turns to the 12 and not everything else that goes on.
“You’ve got the get the captain’s picks out of the way and get the conversations out of the way, which are still ongoing, but for Luke and everybody behind him its about preparing the 12 to go and do something good in Rome.”
Bjorn admitted that Meronk had played brilliant golf and can feel unfortunate not to make the team, but like he told Wallace and Cabrera-Bello he has to try and use it as motivation.
“They had fought so hard to be in the team and that’s the same for Adrian – he’s played some unbelievable golf,” Bjorn added.
“He’s done all the right things, but sometimes you’ve just got to look at it and go the captain has a feeling and an idea and sometimes that works out in a…