ST. LOUIS — A key figure on so many European Ryder Cup teams, Sergio Garcia finds himself well outside of an automatic qualifying place for the 2018 squad and the subject of surprising debate about whether captain Thomas Bjorn should make him an at-large pick.
Garcia, 38, who won his first major title at the Masters in 2017, has missed the cut in all three majors this year, was 70th at the Players Championship and tied for 39th last week at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
The Spaniard has missed the cut in six of his last 10 events and dropped to 23rd in the world from 10th at the end of 2017.
“Sergio’s a world-class player and he’s got some weeks ahead of him where he wants to go out and achieve things,” said Bjorn, who is playing in the PGA Championship this week at Bellerive Country Club. “But we also know that Sergio is the type of player who can turn it around in a week or two and then all of a sudden he goes on a great run of form.
“World-class players all have ups and downs, and the last few weeks he hasn’t played his best, but he’s still bobbling around, and there’s still some good signs here and there, and he can turn it around quickly.”
Garcia has played on eight European teams dating to his first appearance as a 19-year-old in 1999. He is 19-11-7 and won 22.5 points. Just two years ago, he had an epic singles matches against Phil Mickelson in which he made 10 birdies and halved the match with the American.
The only Ryder Cup Garcia missed during that time was in 2010, when he took a leave from the game but still served as an assistant to Colin Montgomerie in Wales.
Garcia heads into the PGA ranked 131st in FedEx Cup points, which means without a good showing here or next week at the Wyndham Championship, Garcia would not even qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs — losing more opportunities to impress the captain.
“For Sergio’s sake, I would like to see him probably putting in a little bit better performances than he has because he’s such a qualify player and he brings so much to a European team when he’s on form,” Bjorn said.
The top eight players (four from a European points list, four from a world ranking list) will make up the team on Sept. 2 following the Made in Denmark event at Bjorn’s home course. Three days later, he will name his four at-large picks.