Ryder Cup: Europe defend Sergio Garcia after Sir Nick Faldo criticism

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Ryder Cup: Graeme McDowell & Sergio Garcia hit back at Nick Faldo

Sergio Garcia's Ryder Cup team-mates have leapt to the defence of the Spaniard after his display in the 2008 event was criticised by Sir Nick Faldo.

In his role as commentator on the Golf Channel, Faldo, who was captain of the losing 2008 European team, described Garcia's performance as "useless".

On Friday, Garcia helped Europe take a 5-3 lead over the US at Gleneagles.

When asked about Faldo's comments, Westwood said: "Let's take the euphoria we have from today and just crush it."

Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy
Garcia and McIlroy stage a superb fight-back to halve their foursomes match on Friday

Northern Irishman McDowell pointed out that both Westwood and Garcia were controversially dropped for the first time in their Ryder Cup careers in the 16½-11½ defeat at Valhalla.

"You've got one of the best Ryder Cup pairings of all time being sat down on a Saturday afternoon of a Ryder Cup that we go on to lose," McDowell said.

"I'd say Sergio was fairly useless that afternoon, yeah. Because he wasn't able to play."

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Ryder Cup 2014: 'Magical' bunker shot from Sergio Garcia

Garcia, who was paired with world number one Rory McIlroy in both the fourballs and foursomes at Gleneagles, bounced back from a morning defeat by Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley by helping to claim the last two holes and halve their afternoon encounter with Jimmy Walker and Ricky Fowler.

The 34-year-old Spanish world number three produced the shot of the day to find the green from the rough on the 18th to set up the last of those birdies.

When asked about Faldo's assessment of his performance in 2008, Garcia responded: "That's unfortunate. I guess he doesn't feel European. That's the only thing I can think of.

"There's a lot of things I could say about Nick Faldo, but I'm not going to put myself down to his level."

Saturday's fourballs (Europe first, all times BST)
07:35Justin Rose & Henrik Stenson v Bubba Watson & Matt Kuchar
07:50Jamie Donaldson & Lee Westwood v Jim Furyk & Hunter Mahan
08:05Thomas Bjorn & Martin Kaymer v Patrick Reed & Jordan Spieth
08:20Rory McIlroy & Ian Poulter v Jimmy Walker & Rickie Fowler

Faldo has since sought to explain his critique, saying that his choice of the word "useless" stemmed from the fact it was a reaction live on air.

"I agree that was harsh," he said. "Everybody immediately goes straight to him saying that 'Faldo says you were useless' when they don't know the circumstances.

"It's live television. It's half tongue-in-cheek. It's a throwaway line with no malice."

Ryder Cup 2014 on the BBC
Saturday, 27 September: BBC Radio 5 live, 08:30-18:30. The Ryder Cup Highlights: 20:30-22:30, BBC Two.
Sunday, 28 September: BBC Radio 5 live, 11:00-18:30. The Ryder Cup Highlights: 19:30-21:30, BBC Two.
Live text & radio commentary, and video highlights, of all three days available on the BBC Sport website.

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