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Sergio Garcia defends Ian Woosnam

Sergio Garcia has defended European Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam over his decision to select Lee Westwood ahead of Thomas Bjorn for the match later this month in Ireland.

Woosnam announced Darren Clarke and Westwood as his two wild card picks for the Sept. 22-24 contest, prompting strong criticism from Denmark's Bjorn who is above Westwood in the rankings.

Bjorn labelled Woosnam the "most pathetic captain I've ever seen," in British newspapers on Tuesday, although Spaniard Garcia, who is defending champion at this week's European Masters in Switzerland, believes Bjorn's comments will not affect the European Ryder Cup cause.

"No, I don't think what Thomas said will hurt the side," Garcia told reporters.

"Thomas does wear his heart on his sleeve but you can understand how much he wanted to make the team. He has played nicely the past couple of weeks and his comments are understandable but Ian can only pick two, and they are two good picks.

"Ian has made two good picks and I know there were a couple of other players that had a chance of selection but unfortunately you can't pick all of them. He chose what he felt was the best for the team."

Garcia was one of the 10 automatic qualifiers and will be making his fourth appearance in the competition.

"The team seems like it is in pretty good shape and hopefully we can gain some good momentum early on and kind of carry over like we did two years ago," he said.

"But it will be really difficult to repeat our big win of two years ago. You have guys in the U.S. team that are playing extremely well.

"Wins like our success in 2004 don't happen too often. I think that was the first time ever that we won by that much, so it's not that easy."

Europe won 18 1/2 to 9 1/2 at Oakland Hills in 2004, following their victory two years earlier in England when Bjorn was a member of the side.

September 6, 2006


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