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Sir Nick Faldo believes Zach Johnson’s wildcard picks contributed to America’s downfall at the Ryder Cup.

Johnson presided over a seventh straight defeat on the road for the beleaguered Team USA side, with Europe completely dominating in their 16.5-11.5 victory at Marco Simone last month.

Luke Donald has been praised for his own outstanding captaincy in Rome, but the finger of blame has largely been pointed at Johnson in the American inquest.

The two-time major champion was adamant there was not a rift in his camp when rumours emerged over a fractured American locker room. But regardless of that reported friction, Johnson also received widespread criticism for his selection of pairings and wildcards.

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Contentious pick Rickie Fowler returned zero points, while Collin Morikawa, Sam Burns and Jordan Spieth all only earned a solitary point each. And speaking on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio’s “Gravy & The Sleeze” show, Team Europe great Faldo questioned Johnson’s decision-making.

“We had to look at Zach’s picks, his six picks,” Faldo said. “I mean, all those guys are great guys, great golfers, but they were all running hot and cold, or trying to find their games and saying, you know, ‘I can turn it on for you, Captain.’

“But I’ve been there and got the T-shirt. When you’re not playing great at a Ryder Cup I can promise you it is the worst arena to be playing in because you are under so much pressure to do something for the rest of the team.

“And you won’t find it, and we saw all of that unravel. And Europe was extremely focused. You could literally see it in their eyes right on the first tee. They stood up there and looked down the fairway.

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“America, to be honest, I looked and thought, ‘these guys, they’ve got too much peripheral vision. They’re just looking at everything.’ And Europe was very focused on the job at hand, what they had to do.”

There were myriad reasons for Team USA’s demise, but Faldo has also stressed that Johnson’s side were simply swept aside by a better team. Star players Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland and Jon Rahm contributed a combined 10.5 points out of the 16.5 overall tally, while every single European player posted at least half a point in Rome.

“The Big Four (European players) came in and you’ve got to get a huge bunch of points,” Faldo added.

“Then I thought it was very cool that our rookies, America doesn’t know a lot about our rookies, [Nicolai] Hojgaard and [Ludvig] Aberg and Bobby MacIntyre, they don’t know a lot about these guys and that can be very useful. So, which they obviously did, the captains can say, ‘Relax, you’ve all to gain this week.

“If you can just get me a point you’ve done a great job.’ Well, they did more than that. So we got that added bonus as well.”

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Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

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