By Andrew Both
ST. LOUIS, Missouri (Reuters) – European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn said on Tuesday that he wants to “see something” from out-of-form Sergio Garcia before finalising his team for next month’s competition against the United States.
Garcia has been the beating heart of the European side for nearly two decades but he is currently well outside the top eight spots and the automatic cut off for the team.
Bjorn played his cards close to his chest, but reading between the lines it sounded as though Garcia will be on the team one way or another.
“Sergio won’t be happy with where he’s been over the last few months,” Bjorn said as torrential rain tumbled down at Bellerive two days before the start of the PGA Championship.
“Knowing him very well, he tees it up every week to try and win tournaments and I would like to see something from him.
“If he doesn’t make the team on merit… it comes back to what’s the makeup of the team, does he fit in there?
“For Sergio’s sake I would like to see him putting in a bit better performances because he’s such a quality player and brings so much to the European team when he’s on form.”
Garcia has lived and breathed the Ryder Cup since making his debut in 1999, and has a stellar record of 19 wins, 11 losses and seven halves in eight appearances.
Only five Europeans have won more matches.
But the Spaniard has slipped to 23rd in the world rankings, perhaps suffering a psychological letdown after finally winning a major at the Masters last year, and also getting married.
He missed the cut at both the U.S. and British Open this year.
“Sergio has so many qualities,” Bjorn said.
“We know Sergio is the type of player that can turn it around in a week or two and then all of a sudden he goes on the great run of form.”
The top eight in the European standings on Sept. 2 will make the team automatically, while Bjorn will round out his side with four captain’s picks.
Garcia, 38, is not the only European stalwart outside the qualifying bubble, with Swede Henrik Stenson and Englishman Ian Poulter also battling to make the team.
Europe and the U.S. will play the biennial event at Le National in Paris from Sept. 28-30.
The U.S. are defending champions but the Americans have not won away since 1993.
(Reporting by Andrew Both; Editing by Christian Radnedge)