European captain Padraig Harrington admitted it was “incredibly difficult” to leave Justin Rose out of his side after naming Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Shane Lowry as his Ryder Cup wildcards.
Bernd Wiesberger’s tie for 20th in the BMW PGA Championship saw him secure a debut at Whistling Straits at the end of the month, knocking Lowry out of the side.
Lowry could have replaced Lee Westwood with a top-eight finish and began the day in a tie for seventh, but slipped down the leaderboard with a final round of 71.
Westwood therefore qualified for a record-equalling 11th appearance in the biennial contest despite a closing 77, the 48-year-old joining Wiesberger, Jon Rahm, Tyrrell Hatton, Paul Casey, Rory McIlroy, Matt Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland in the team.
Speaking about his selection, Lowry said: “It’s been a career-long dream to play in the Ryder Cup.
“I remember when the points race started, I said it was my number one goal and it has been for the last two years.
“I’m just incredibly proud of what I have achieved. But there’s no point going over there to make up the numbers. I want to win points and help bring the cup back.”
— Shane Lowry (@ShaneLowryGolf) September 12, 2021
Leaving someone of Rose's stature was “incredibly difficult” for Harrington, and he said. “Clearly he was in contention in his last two events.
“Did I need more? Maybe not but the fact of the matter is, with who he was going up against, the consistency of Shane Lowry, what Ian and Shane have brought over the years, somebody had to lose out.
“It really is as close as that. Alex Noren as well playing fantastic golf.
“If you don’t play your way in it’s a tough place to be. It easily could have been JR or Alex Noren. It was so tight at the end of the day and we just went with the passion… the core, the heart of the team has been Ian and Sergio over the years, the consistency of Shane under pressure and under stress.
“JR did deliver this week, it was just a step too far.”
Speaking before the announcement was made, Rose said: “It would be disappointing. You reflect on why. Is there something bigger at play because on the surface I feel pretty confident.
“I think it will be hard for him not to pick me but I had that with Monty (Colin Montgomerie in 2010), as well, and went a different way.
“Who knows what the bigger plan is, and if he (Harrington) has a bigger plan, 100 per cent good luck to the boys and I’ll be cheering as the rest of you will."