Ryder Cup 2008: I'm Glad I'm Not Nick Faldo

Andrew McNairSenior Writer IAugust 26, 2008

Time is running out for players on both sides of the Atlantic to earn their spots in this year's Ryder Cup.

European Captain Nick Faldo has a real headache on his hands, with four extremely experienced European players sitting outside of qualification and needing Faldo to stamp their passports for them.

It must be the hardest bit of the job for a European Ryder Cup Captain and the picking of two wild cards (American Captain Paul Azinger will get four) can be the difference between winning and losing.

So what do you go for? Experience? Form? Youth? Try to blend them all?

I can't answer that, but I'll tell you who is in the running to join the likes of Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia and Miguel Angel Jiminez as Europe's representatives.

First on my list must be Darren Clarke. The 40-year-old Irishman is a veteran of five Ryder Cups. Just this weekend, he sent the memo to Faldo by winning the KLM Open.

He's experienced and he is on form. Can that be ignored?

Secondly, we have England's Paul Casey, who has had a cracking few years on the tour. He is expected to be selected along with Clarke by Faldo.

This leaves Colin Montgomerie out in the cold, and his decision not to compete in Holland last weekend was a strange one. Only a win this weekend will be enough for the fiery Scot to avoid missing his first Ryder Cup since 1991.

Ian Poulter had a fantastic British Open to propel himself once again into the thoughts of Faldo, but his form has dipped since then. In fact, the colourful Englishman missed the cut last weekend, but he can still qualify through the points list if he finishes highly this weekend in the Johnny Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

If he does get there, let's hope he doesn't have any influence on the European Ryder Cup Uniform!

With all the automatic places still not decided, it will also be a massive weekend for Nick Dougherty and Ross Fisher. Both men are hovering around the points list cut, so they each need a high finish.

One man who sadly looks to have missed out, though, is Paul McGinlay. The Irishman has played every Ryder Cup since 1999. He even resigned as Nick Faldo's assistant for this event, believing he could play himself into the tournament.

Second in Holland last weekend behind his compatriot does not look to be enough to keep McGinlay in contention.

So what are my thoughts on selection?

If I use my head, it has to be Paul Casey and Darren Clarke.

My heart is a different matter and says Darren Clarke and Colin Montgomerie.

I'd just love Monty to be there and with just 1.5 points needed to become Europe's most successful Ryder Cup player ever. The man has never lost a singles match!

I want to see him drop his putter in sheer relief after holing yet another Ryder Cup-winning putt!

As you may have noticed though, I'm a bit of a romantic and I'm certainly not Nick Faldo.

Whoever he selects will have my support as we go knocking on America's door once again.