Ryder Cup 2020: Paul McGinley says Shane Lowry deserved a captain’s pick for Team Europe | Golf News


Paul McGinley

Golf Columnist

“I said all week at Wentworth that Lowry deserved a pick, as he has been one of the best performing Europeans over the summer and he has the pedigree as a major champion”; watch the Ryder Cup live on Sky Sports from September 24-26

Last Updated: 13/09/21 11:04am

Shane Lowry will make his Ryder Cup debut at Whistling Straits later this month

Shane Lowry will make his Ryder Cup debut at Whistling Straits later this month

Paul McGinley reflects on a thrilling finish to the Ryder Cup qualifying campaign at the BMW PGA Championship and looks at Padraig Harrington’s European side heading to Wisconsin.

We talked going into the final day of the BMW PGA Championship about the complicated scenarios that could have unfolded in the Ryder Cup qualification race and that’s what ended up happening.

The probability was that Bernd Wiesberger was going to make the team and that Shane Lowry was going to make the top eight. Lowry couldn’t do that and obviously that let Lee Westwood hold onto his spot, which put him in the precarious position of relying on a pick.

That was made even tougher by the fact that he was up against a fast-finishing Justin Rose, who has shown a lot of form and has a massive CV. Some big questions were asked of Harrington, given he had made it quite clear over the summer that Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter would in all probability be picked, so it seemed to be a head-to-head race between Lowry and Rose.

I think the players Harrington selected were the favourite picks with the options that he had. Rose is obviously very unlucky to not be on that team, but things conspired against him at the end of the tournament and ultimately was the reason why he didn’t get a place.

I said all week at Wentworth that Lowry deserved a pick, as he has been one of the best performing Europeans over the summer and he has the pedigree as a major champion, plus Whistling Straits is a golf course that should suit him. I’d like to have had Rose too, as he is coming into form at the right time, but with only three picks, his options were limited.

Lowry showed he is a man for the big occasion with his Open victory in 2019

Lowry showed he is a man for the big occasion with his Open victory in 2019

I think you’re looking at two very contrasting teams. Garcia and Poulter have been selected as players who have performed and delivered points away from home, with Harrington putting a big weighting on experience in that regard.

Harrington talked about getting a team that’s suited to the golf course. Whistling Straits is a long golf course where there is the prospect of inclement weather, and he said he feels like he has got a team of ball strikers who are prepared to take on this challenge.

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We’re under no illusions from a European point of view that we’re facing arguably their strongest-ever team. World rankings wise it certainly is, but also with the youth and vibrancy of the team and the fact that they seem to be learning lessons all the time.

We enjoy and revel on being the underdog and galvanising ourselves in that situation. That doesn’t mean that it’s always easy, but we have a way of doing it and are always going to enjoy the test of an away Ryder Cup.

Justin Rose needed to win the BMW PGA Championship to qualify for the team, but tied for sixth despite a closing 65

Justin Rose needed to win the BMW PGA Championship to qualify for the team, but tied for sixth despite a closing 65

It’s much harder to try and win a Ryder Cup away from home, particular in this Covid world where international level is so limited and where most European people are not allowed into America without an exemption.

In general, we’ll have very few supporters there and that’s going to make the occasion even more difficult, with the lack of fans something that will be on the minds of both Padraig and the players. It’s just another element we’re going to have to overcome against that very strong American team.

It’s not an insurmountable task to win in that environment, as we saw at the Solheim Cup. Catriona Matthew’s side were fabulous in how they went and performed as well as they did. If we can take a leaf out of their book, then we’re going to put in a really strong challenge in our bid to try to and retain the Ryder Cup – something we know that’s very difficult to do.

Who will win the Ryder Cup? Watch the contest from September 24-26 live on Sky Sports’ dedicated Ryder Cup channel – Sky Sports Ryder Cup.

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