VERSAILLES, France (Reuters) - Britain’s Ian Poulter came in for criticism again on Wednesday, a year after controversially dropping out of the final Ryder Cup points-counting event.
This time the world number 20 is under fire from 2010 European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie for skipping this week’s Seve Trophy at St Nom la Breteche.
“Ian Poulter, having not qualified for the Tour Championship and the final FedExCup event (in the U.S.) and having been picked for the last Ryder Cup team, I felt a little bit more effort might have been made to come here,” Montgomerie told reporters.
“I haven’t (spoken to him to ask why) but I don’t want to. I don’t want to make a big issue of this.”
Poulter qualified for the Britain & Ireland team that takes on Continental Europe but, similar to when he stayed away from Europe’s last Ryder Cup qualifying event in Scotland, he has decided not to return from his base in the United States.
The Englishman was eventually picked by captain Nick Faldo as a Ryder wildcard last year.
Poulter’s manager, Paul Dunkley, explained why the player was missing this week.
“Ian was within one shot of making this week’s Tour Championship and had to plan a schedule at the point he made the third (and penultimate) FedExCup qualifying event,” Dunkley told Reuters.
“His family had already gone out (to America) and he couldn’t leave them to come over here to Europe. It was all very unfortunate because he loves team golf.”
Montgomerie is in Versailles to weigh up the two teams and watch players who are likely to play under him in the biennial match with the U.S. in Wales in 2010.
Poulter was one of the few European success stories when they lost to the Americans last year and Dunkley added: “Ian is absolutely committed to making the Ryder Cup team on merit this time.”
With money-list leader Martin Kaymer of Germany and second-placed Paul Casey of Britain also absent due to injury, both sides have lost key players this week.
Rory McIlroy, third on the money-list, and fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell take on Spaniard Alvaro Quiros and Dane Soren Kjeldsen in the first of five Thursday morning fourballs.
McIlroy, who referred to the Ryder Cup as an “exhibition” earlier this year, is nonetheless keen to gain experience of professional team golf.
“It’s my first team event as a pro and the more things like this I can get before playing in the Ryder Cup ... will stand me in good stead,” he said.
Britain’s Simon Dyson has been suffering sickness but is expected to play alongside Oliver Wilson against Soren Hansen and Peter Hanson on Thursday.
If Dyson is unfit one of the two European players will have to drop out and the match will become a singles encounter.
Officials said tournament founder Seve Ballesteros may attend the event at the weekend. The Spaniard is still recovering after undergoing four operations to remove a brain tumor.
Editing by Tony Jimenez
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