Europe's rout vindicates Bjorn's inspired Garcia pick

Thomas Bjorn is not only the captain of a winning Ryder Cup team. It turns out he can see the future.

On Monday in Paris, as Europe basked in the glory of an emphatic triumph over the United States, it was easy to forget the criticism that had come the way of their captain less than four weeks ago.

Many felt Bjorn had made a mistake in selecting Sergio Garcia as one of his wildcards, at the end of a season that had seen the Spaniard miss the cut in all four majors during a prolonged spell of poor form.

Nobody doubted Garcia’s pedigree in the Ryder Cup, an event he has starred in time and time again, but there was considerable uncertainty over whether he could snap out of his funk when it mattered most.

Bjorn’s response was emphatic and his words on September 5 now appear remarkably prescient after Garcia contributed three points – and plenty more off the course – in a 17.5-10.5 success at Le Golf National.

“We need people that can rise to the occasion, that can up their game and that can make the man standing next to him better. Sergio does that,” said Bjorn.

Garcia certainly ticked all of those boxes last week, and surpassed Nick Faldo as the man with the most Ryder Cup points in the process, but Bjorn was not finished there and even foresaw the 10-6 lead that Europe would hold heading into Sunday’s singles.

“He [Garcia] is the one that stands up and gives a speech to the others and he has done that in the past. He’s the one that stands up on Thursday night and rallies the troops,” said the Dane.

“He’s also the one that on Saturday night, when you’re four points ahead, that goes ‘okay, this is by no means won yet’, because he knows that. He’s been there.”

How about that for a knowledgeable prediction?

What is more, Bjorn’s three other picks also starred in France, Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter and Paul Casey all more than justifying their presence in the side with a series of accomplished performances.

The four wildcards’ combined haul of 9.5 points was only one short of the total amassed by the entire USA team and the return of the European captain’s picks contrasted wildly with that of Jim Furyk’s four selections.

Tony Finau enjoyed two wins in an impressive debut, but Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau were unable to put as much as half a point on the board.

Ahead of an event that began with the US as favourites, few people could have foreseen the away team’s wildcards – and indeed their line-up in general – struggling so badly.

Saying that, maybe Bjorn saw it coming.