Seve Ballesteros, Thomas Bjorn, Christy OConnor Jnr and Tony Jacklin all made unlikely comebacks after being overlooked
Missing out on the Ryder Cup team hurts; just ask current Europe captain Thomas Bjorn. When Bjorn learned that the final wildcard spot in the 2006 team go to Lee Westwood, he reacted by calling Europe captain Ian Woosnam barmy and the most pathetic captain Ive ever seen. I have lost all respect for him, said Bjorn. My relationship with him is completely dead and will remain so. This will be the first time I dont even watch the Ryder Cup on television and you dont know how sad that is, given how much I care for that tournament.
Woosnam admitted that Bjorn wasnt a happy chappy when I told him, but the team survived his absence at the K Club, securing a mighty 18-9 victory thanks in part to the four points picked up by Westwood. Perhaps Woosnam was not that barmy after all.
Either way, Bjorns dealings with the Ryder Cup were not done. Eight years later he was in the Europe team that won the Cup at Gleneagles. Redemption is something of a theme when it comes to golfers who miss out on Ryder Cup wildcards. Tony Jacklin, Seve Ballesteros, Christy OConnor Jnr and Philip Walton were all overlooked by captains but they too like Bjorn made their way back into the team and back into the history books.
1981: Seve Ballesteros
Europe had a tough enough task before them as the 1981 Ryder Cup approached. Facing the US dream team 11 of their players would become major winners during their careers but it was made even harder when Europe captain John Jacobs omitted Seve Ballesteros from his team. Ballesteros had been at loggerheads the European Tour over appearance money, which meant he played fewer tournaments and would have to rely on a wildcard for his place.
It was our opinion that, in terms of unity, it was best to leave him out on this occasion, said Jacobs. Publicly, Ballesteros accepted his fate. Secretly, he was fuming. I felt really upset and decided never to play the Ryder Cup again, he wrote in his autobiography.