Thomas Bjorn lauded Sergio Garcia’s influence in the team room as he attempted to justify the out-of-form Spaniard’s selection as one of his four captain’s picks.
The 38-year-old is a veteran of eight Ryder Cups but, of the four wildcards, the 2017 Masters champion’s selection raised the most eyebrows.
That’s because he’s hardly been in form. Garcia has missed eight of his last 11 cuts on the PGA Tour and failed to qualify for FedEx Cup play-offs for the first time since the end-of-season showpiece was introduced in 2007.
However, Bjorn was undeterred by Garcia’s struggles, opting for him over fellow Spaniard and unbeaten debutant in 2016, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, three-time European Tour winner in 2018, Matt Wallace, and Europe's top points scorer at Hazeltine, Thomas Pieters, due to his experience and influence off the course.
“He’s the heartbeat of the team,” said Bjorn. “Leaving him out of the team would be like a football team going without the captain. He makes everyone around him better and he is what’s great about the European team room. He offers just as much off the course as he does on it.
“I have so much belief that he’ll deliver as an important member of the team and he’s the one player I really feel like I can trust in this Ryder Cup.”
That’s a pretty glowing endorsement, so let’s hope Garcia can reward Bjorn’s faith when the action begins at Le Golf National later this month.