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Page last updated at 19:57 GMT, Sunday, 31 August 2008 20:57 UK

Gallacher queries Poulter call-up

Ian Poulter
Poulter did not earn enough points to qualify by right for the Ryder Cup team

Former Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher has questioned Nick Faldo's decision to hand Ian Poulter a wildcard entry into Europe's team.

Faldo chose Poulter and Paul Casey as his wildcard selections for the match at Valhalla, Kentucky, with Darren Clarke among those who missed out.

Gallacher said: "I think the morale in the team might be a bit lower for picking Poulter ahead of Darren Clarke.

"I felt there was a dead certainty for it to be Darren Clarke and Paul Casey."

Poulter skipped the Johnnie Walker Championship, where he could have earned the points to qualify by right, in favour of playing in America this week.

And Gallacher added: "I'm surprised Ian Poulter didn't come back and fight for his place.

"There will be a few players today thinking, 'Nick, I think you've made a mistake.

BBC 5 Live golf correspondent Iain Carter

"I don't think Ian Poulter will let the team down. But he (Poulter) didn't turn up to the last event and Darren's the form guy. Ian Poulter has missed the last two cuts."

Gallacher, who captained the European team in 1991, 1993 and 1995, continued: "I'm very surprised Darren Clarke wasn't picked.

"Darren Clarke has won two tournaments on the European Tour this year. He won a tournament two weeks ago in a very strong field on a tough course.

"He's got a great Ryder Cup record. In the past he's played well with Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia.

"I don't want to pull the team down. Nick's his own man. I just had a sneaking feeling at the back of my mind that Nick Faldo would do something different.

"He (Faldo) is slightly controversial and he's lived up to it."

Sergio Garcia, who will play in his fifth Ryder Cup at Valhalla, expressed his surprise over Clarke's omission by Faldo.

The Spaniard said: "I thought Paul (Casey) was pretty much a lock (for a wildcard) and because of the way Darren has been playing lately, I thought maybe he would get the other one."

However, Garcia accepted Faldo would have been taking a huge risk by selecting the out-of-form Colin Montgomerie, despite his outstanding Ryder Cup record.

"Monty has done so well at the Ryder Cup, but unfortunately he just hasn't been playing that great lately," he said.

"Even though it's Monty, it's a huge risk to pick a guy who hasn't been playing his best and hope he plays his best at the Ryder Cup.

"Casey and Poulter are going to be good assets for the team. I think we're all looking forward to it and all happy that both Ian and Paul are on the team."

see also
European Ryder Cup rankings
26 Aug 08 |  Golf

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