Molinari gets Ryder wildcard


GLENEAGLES, August 30 – Europe's Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie on Sunday selected triple major winner Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald and Edoardo Molinari as his three wildcard picks for the clash against the United States at Celtic Manor on October 1-3.The three join automatic qualifiers Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter, Ross Fisher, Francesco Molinari, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Peter Hanson in the European squad.

Montgomerie’s decision means Paul Casey and Justin Rose will not be part of Europe’s bid to win back the Ryder Cup.

Harrington, Casey, Donald and Rose chose to stay in America in the last two weeks when returning to Europe could have seen them qualify, so Montgomerie was left with five players in the world top 22 chasing a pick.

Montgomerie asked all four all to play at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles and they all turned him down.

No brothers have played in the same match since Bernhard and Geoff Hunt in 1963, but Edoardo Molinari changed that with a three-birdie finish to win the Johnnie Walker title in dramatic fashion earlier on Sunday and convince Montgomerie of his credentials.

Edoardo’s brother Francesco clinched his place on Thursday when England’s Ross McGowan pulled out of the final counting event through injury.

The Italians won the World Cup together last November and Edoardo, winner of Europe’s Challenge Tour last season, also staked his claims by winning the Dunlop Phoenix title in Japan and the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond – as well as coming second to Ernie Els in the US Tour’s Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Harrington’s candidacy was boosted by being the only three-time major winner amongst the players.

Against him, though, was the fact that he did not win a game either in the defeat two years ago or the nine-point victory at The K Club in 2006.

The biggest pluses for Donald, who missed the last match following wrist surgery, were that he has lost only one of seven Ryder Cup games, has a perfect four wins out of four in foursomes, was third at Celtic Manor in June’s Wales Open and was ranked 10th in the world.

Casey was one higher than that and his head-to-head record also strengthened his hand. He won the World Match Play at Wentworth in 2006 and was a finalist in the last two WGC-Accenture Championships in Arizona.

Rose was much more successful with three points out of four on his debut, partnering Poulter to two wins and beating Phil Mickelson in the singles.

He has played less than anybody in Europe this season, though, and after two US Tour victories earlier this summer he missed the halfway cut in the last two majors – just like Harrington.