Sergio Garcia criticised following controversial Ryder Cup decision
It's been a terrible year for Sergio Garcia.
The 38-year-old Spaniard missed the cut in all four majors and, for the first time since it began in 2006, failed to reach the FedEx Cup play-offs.
Garcia produced some of his best stuff during 2017, clinching three worldwide victories including The Masters. He has, however, been a shadow of his Green Jacket-winning self in recent months and now faces the prospect of missing out on The Ryder Cup.
This time last year, his place in Thomas Bjorn's team looked guaranteed.
Having failed to crack the top-125 of the FedEx standings at the Wyndham Championship in August, Garcia had the chance to signal his intention of doing everything to impress Bjorn by playing in this week's Made In Denmark tournament.
Unfortunately, he thought better of it.
Bjorn has four wildcard picks for this year's staging of the biennial event at Le Golf National in Paris, which the Dane will announce this Wednesday.
Ryder Cup: Thomas Bjorn makes no wildcard promise to Sergio Garcia pic.twitter.com/1N4OaxDU2o
— Essential Golf (@_essentialgolf) August 29, 2018
While Garcia is widely tipped to be one of them, former Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie has slammed the player's decision to skip the tournament in Denmark.
"If you have not yet qualified you run the risk of not being selected – so you do your flaming utmost to avoid that situation," the Scot wrote in his Daily Telegraph column.
"That is why I cannot understand Sergio Garcia missing the Made In Denmark event."
"Garcia did not qualify for the FedEx Cup, so is not playing on the PGA Tour. Why on earth take a week off now? Unless there is something we do not know, it is completely baffling and Sergio is in a very precarious spot."
Montgomerie speaks from an inarguable position of authority here. He captained Europe to victory at Celtic Manor in 2010, but only after being forced to snub Paul Casey – then inside the world's top 10 – in favour of the Italian Edoardo Molinari, whose victory at the Johnnie Walker Classic immediately prior to Montgomerie's wildcard announcement proved decisive.
Garcia boasts immense Ryder Cup experience, having played in eight of the nine last events. Pedigree, however, is no guarantee of being included, as we've seen in recent years, as Montgomerie highlights.
"In 2012, Jose Maria Olazabal sided with Nicolas Colsaerts over Padraig Harrington; in 2014, Paul McGinley went with Stephen Gallacher over Luke Donald; and, two years ago, Darren Clarke picked Thomas Pieters over Russell Knox and Donald."
There is a good chance Garcia will be included among Bjorn's picks but, as Montgomerie has rightfully pointed out, he's playing a dangerous game at a critical time. If he is picked, it may prompt some backlash.