LONDON (Reuters) - Overlooked by captain Paul McGinley for this year’s Ryder Cup, former world number one Luke Donald believes he only has himself to blame for missing out on Europe’s victory over the United States.
After a frustrating season, which has seen Donald slip down to 34 in the world rankings, captain McGinley opted to pick Ian Poulter, Stephen Gallacher and Lee Westwood as his wild cards to take on the U.S. at Gleneagles in September.
In Donald’s absence, Europe comfortably retained their Ryder Cup crown by 16 1/2 points to 11 1/2 and the 36-year-old admitted his poor performances were the reason he missed out.
“It was disappointment mixed with anger,” Donald told The Telegraph. “I could have been picked ahead of Lee, Stephen or Ian and feel I could have justified the wild card.
“But it was not anger directed at Paul or anyone, just at the fact I’d put myself in that situation.
“Let’s face it, but for a few instances during the season I would have qualified by right,” he said.
“The last few months I did not play well at all and you realize you can’t blame anyone but yourself. Not to say the disappointment didn’t sit with me for a few weeks. It did.”
As a jubilant European team celebrated their eighth win over the U.S. in 10 editions of the event, Donald, who has played in four successful European Ryder Cup teams, sent McGinley a text message congratulating him on a job well done.
“He (McGinley) had a job to do and did it amazingly,” Donald said. “I have nothing for Paul but admiration.
“Of course, you always want to play in the Ryder Cup — it’s provided probably my most enjoyable moments in the game.
“When I saw the guys on TV, I did feel a bit jealous. It was hard to watch the last day, but I couldn’t tear myself away. It’s great theater: there’s nothing like rooting for the guys.”
Having missed out on European success at Gleneagles, Donald reunited with former coach Pat Goss after admitting the radical swing change he underwent with Chuck Cook had not worked.
“I lost sight of what made me successful,” he said. “I focused too much on my what I perceived as my weakness and forgot about my strength, which is from 150 yards and in.
“When I was number one, I probably wanted that major too much. I came close to winning majors under Pat but figured I needed to be a better ball-striker, figured there had to be an overhaul of the whole package.
“But I’m not a ‘big picture’ sort of guy. I prefer making small improvements each day. Pat understands that and for the first few weeks we didn’t talk about swing, just did some really good work on my wedge play and putting. I’m ready to compete again.”
Reporting By Michael Hann; Editing by Rex Gowar