Former Europe Ryder Cup player and captain Nick Faldo has backed Luke Donald’s decision to overlook record points scorer Sergio Garcia from the team.
Garcia notched a staggering 28.5 points for Europe in 10 competitions from 1999 to 2021, winning 25 of 44 matches, including a key victory with Donald over Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker at the 2012 Miracle of Medinah.
But the 2017 Masters champion signed for LIV Golf in 2022 before later resigning from the DP World Tour in a messy exit and though USA have handed a wildcard to LIV pro Brooks Koepka, European captain Donald has overlooked Garcia.
Six-time Major winner Faldo, 66, who won 25 points in 11 appearances, was asked if Europe were weaker without Garcia, but insisted to the Golf Channel’s Golf Today: “You have got to be kidding.
“These guys have moved on. I think we have one of the strongest teams we have ever had. Those guys have left the tour and are in a different world now. They have not supported the tour, they are done. The game has moved on and the team has moved on. The Europe team is fantastic. I don’t think they could do anything better. They have a big backbone and guys who have been around before.”
Garcia, 43, was just 19 when he made his debut at Brookline in 1999 and picked up 3.5 points in the losing side. Since then, he has been a fixture in every side, except for the 2010 Ryder Cup, when he took a break following a slump but was named as a vice captain for the event at Celtic Manor.
Donald’s team this year is formed of wildcards Ludvig Aberg, Tommy Fleetwood, Sepp Straka, Justin Rose, Shane Lowry and Nicolai Hojgaard. They join Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Fitzpatrick and Robert MacIntyre, who claimed the six automatic qualification spots for Rome. Faldo added: “I think we have some secret rookies up our sleeve, that is very powerful if you don’t know a lot about a player, they are dangerous.”
Faldo also said he doesn’t expect LIV players and former Ryder Cup stalwarts like Garcia, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter to get a chance at being Ryder Cup captain either and reckons Donald…