'He Had To Leave Somebody Out' - Bjorn On Donald's 'Gut Wrenching' Meronk Decision

Thomas Bjorn can empathise with Luke Donald having to make the "gut wrenching" call to Adrian Meronk ending his Ryder Cup dreams

Thomas Bjorn at the 2018 Ryder Cup
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Thomas Bjorn knows exactly what Luke Donald will have felt like on the phone call telling Adrian Meronk he had just missed out on his Ryder Cup dream - but says the captain and his staff now have to turn their attentions to the 12-man team after making the "gut-wrenching" decisions.

Bjorn had to make some big calls himself for his 2018 European team, who went on to claim an emphatic success at Le Golf National, including leaving out Matt Wallace and Rafa Cabrera-Bello.

In more than an echo of Meronk missing out, Wallace won three times that season and four times in 15 months, but missed as Bjorn opted for experience in Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter and Paul Casey. 

Bjorn says making those phone calls is the hardest part of Ryder Cup captaincy, but says they must now move on from the talk about Donald's picks and focus on the 12 men heading to Rome.

"For the captain that's the toughest day of all when you have to make those phone calls, it really is just gut wrenching," Bjorn told Sky Sports after shooting 66 to lead the Irish Open.

"But he's gone with his feelings, he's gone with what he believes is going to be the right team to be able to win the Ryder Cup.

"And he had to leave somebody out, who arguably in some many people's worlds could have been there and some people think should have been there.

"But that's the way the game is sometimes and we go with these 12 and our focus now turns to the 12 and not everything else that goes on.

"You've got the get the captain's picks out of the way and get the conversations out of the way, which are still ongoing, but for Luke and everybody behind him its about preparing the 12 to go and do something good in Rome."

Meronk bites his glove as he stares on into the distance

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Bjorn admitted that Meronk had played brilliant golf and can feel unfortunate not to make the team, but like he told Wallace and Cabrera-Bello he has to try and use it as motivation.

"They had fought so hard to be in the team and that's the same for Adrian - he's played some unbelievable golf," Bjorn added. 

"He's done all the right things, but sometimes you've just got to look at it and go the captain has a feeling and an idea and sometimes that works out in a certain way. 

"When there's 13 or 14 players and only 12 can go then somebody's going to be very disappointed.

"I think we're all gutted for Adrian for all the good golf that he's played.

"And very much in the conversations I had with Matt and Rafa was to say to use this to do something positive, to show that you can go on from here and be great. That would always be the advice to anyone."

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.