European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley vowed to make his wild card selections in a “cold way” after a dramatic climax to the qualifying process in Turin.
Stephen Gallacher needed to finish in the top two in the Italian Open to dislodge Graeme McDowell from the team for Gleneagles, but had to settle for third place despite a flawless closing 65.
England’s David Howell, who finished a shot ahead of Gallacher thanks to a brilliant 63, believes it would be a travesty if Gallacher was not handed one of McGinley’s three wild cards on Tuesday.
McGinley hailed Gallacher’s “terrific performance” but also needs to consider the likes of Ian Poulter, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood after the Deutsche Bank Championship finishes in Boston on Monday evening. Poulter and Donald were contesting the second FedEx Cup play-off event, while Westwood failed to qualify.
“His performance this week will be very strongly in his favour when it comes to making the picks, but there’s a lot of emotion around here at the moment and let’s just put a little bit of cold water on it,” McGinley said of Gallacher on Sky Sports 4.
“He’s got a lot of things in his favour, but other players do as well and I’ve got to be fair to everybody and do what I feel is best for Europe. I like to assess things in a cold way.”
Gallacher, who lives just 35 miles from Gleneagles and has recorded seven top-10 finishes there in his last 12 appearances, said: “It was a tall order but I am proud of myself the way I have played.
“There are four or five guys that are worthy (of a wild card) so it’s just what Paul sees. At the end of the day I haven’t done enough. We all had the chance of the start of the year and there are nine guys in the team at the moment who have qualified. There are three picks to come and I just hope that I have done enough to get one.”
Howell, who finished two shots behind winner Hennie Otto, told Press Association Sport: “I said to my caddie on the 10th it’s my job to break his (Gallacher’s) heart and he’s a good mate.
“It’s a selfish game but I really hope it’s enough for Stephen to get in the side. I think it would be a travesty, a local boy playing so well not to get in.
“We’ve had a year to qualify and I had to go out and try to do the best for me and my family. It’s unfortunate in some ways that Stephen and I go back such a long way but I really do hope he gets the pick that I think he deserves because he would make a fantastic Ryder Cup player.
“It was a supreme effort and if a captain needs any indication of a player in form who can play under pressure he has had it this weekend.”