Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia in ‘pole position’ for European Ryder Cup spots

Ryder Cup postponed until 2021 due to COVID-19

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European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington has revealed both Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia are in pole position for a wildcard Ryder Cup pick. The European stalwarts – who have 15 Ryder Cup appearances between them – were given a huge boost ahead of this week’s BMW PGA Championship after captain Harrington confirmed they were both at top of his wildcard selection list.

Speaking at Wentworth before Thursday’s opening round, Harrington addressed his captain’s pick dilemma, but admitted Poulter and Garcia had all but secured a place.

The Irishman said: “They are very strong. These two guys have both played great this year. They are both Ryder Cup veterans that have delivered in the Ryder Cup time and time again. 

“It would be odd to see me not pick them, but you never know what is going to happen. You can’t be sure after Sunday night until we know where we sit with things. They are certainly in pole position.”

Poulter has announced himself as a real fan favourite to the European’s, performing as one of the Ryder Cup’s greatest matchplay players in the modern era.

The same could be said for Garcia, and if he is to be picked the Spaniard’s inclusion at this year’s tournament would be his ninth in the last 10 European Ryder Cup teams, after only missing the 2010 event since his debut in 1999.

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The 2017 Masters champion also boasts the record of Europe’s all-time leading points scorer, as his three points at Le Golf National in 2018 moved him to a record-breaking total of 25.5, and the highest of any player to wear Europe’s blue and gold.

However, the Spaniard’s selection for this month’s team recently fell into question, after he chose to play in last week’s FedEx Cup finale at the Tour Championship and not in the final qualifying event of the season at Wentworth this Thursday.

Despite missing this week’s BMW PGA Championship, captain Harrington was happy with the decision Garcia made.

The Irishman commented: “He knows where he sits with it. He could have come here and played his way into the team and taken all doubt out of anything, but, you know, he’s comfortable where he’s at.

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“It’s a better decision for him in terms of resting up and getting ready for it if he’s in the team. You know, this would have been definitely too much after the last three weeks. But it does put a bit of risk in there, doesn’t it?”

Garcia himself addressed his Ryder Cup selection chances following the recent BMW Championship, where he secured his spot at last week’s FedEx Cup finale for the first time in four years.

He said: “I know he’s [Harrington] been watching. He knows where I stand, I know where he stands so you know we’re excited. I’ll go out there next week, have another good week and hopefully we’ll be there.”

Team Europe confirmed earlier today the first five team members to qualify for their 12-man squad, with Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Paul Casey and Viktor Hovland all heading to this month’s tournament.

However, four qualification spots and three wildcard picks still remain to complete the squad, setting up a hugely exciting few days at Wentworth this week, something Harrington is really looking forward to.

The captain commented: “I think there are players who could really cause a bit of a fuss this week, cause a bit of drama. You know, there’s been a great push over the last couple of weeks. Guys have really, really pushed their way in and it’s caused a bit of excitement to it, and certainly if you had been looking six weeks ago there wasn’t a lot happening.

He later added: “It’s not just they are going out trying to win a golf tournament, but they are also trying to win a golf tournament knowing what it means in the bigger picture. 

“It’s the kind of drama that I was hoping for because that’s what you need when it comes to the Ryder Cup. You have to be able to handle the stress and pressure of what’s going on.”

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