European star snubbed for Ryder Cup ‘stopped listening’ to Luke Donald on call

Adrian Meronk has admitted that he can’t recall what Luke Donald said to him after the Ryder Cup captain told him that he hadn’t made it into the European team, because he stopped listening. The 30-year-old Polish star had been hopeful of being one of Donald’s six wildcard picks for the biannual dust-up with the USA, which kicks off at Rome’s Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in just over three weeks’ time.

Meronk has won two DP World Tour titles in the past 14 months and will defend his Irish Open title at the K Club this week, but although the likes of Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry, Justin Rose and Sebb Strakka were all considered ‘locks’ for the European team, Donald passed up the chance to hand him one of the remaining two places, instead opting for rookies Nicolai Hojgaard and Ludvig Aberg.

Donald conveyed the bad news in a telephone call to Meronk on Sunday, ahead of Monday’s official announcement. The Pole wrote a message on Instagram following public confirmation of the final 12, wishing Team Europe good luck.

But when asked about his disappointment at missing out when facing the media ahead of the Irish Open, he was unable to hide his true feelings.

Meronk said: “It’s been an emotional time for me to be honest. From shock to sadness, to anger and now I’m trying to turn it into motivation going into this week.

“Obviously it’s a hard one to swallow. I thought I’d done enough to be in the team but it is what it is. I wish them good luck and I will just focus on my game and move forward.”

Meronk won the Italian Open in May at the very venue the Ryder Cup is being held and finished 13th in last week’s final qualifier event. It had given him confidence that he would be selected but a call from Donald while he was on a train from Geneva ended his good mood.

Speaking specifically about the doomed phone call, he said: “They told me they were going to call regardless and I was in quite a good mood. I was on the train coming from Switzerland, I’d had a nice finish and [then] I was in shock.

“I heard from him (Donald) that it was tough for him as well but when he said I’m not going I kind of stopped listening. He was saying that someone has to stay home, it was close and stuff like that. I wouldn’t want to be in his position but it was a big shock.

“On Monday, the first half of the day was just sadness and disbelief and then anger because the last year-and-a-half I spent a lot of time thinking about this and that was my goal.

“Suddenly I was just realising it’s not going to happen this year.”

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Meronk will have the chance to show Donald what may have missed out on when he defends his Irish Open title this week. He will partner Europe’s big hope Rory McIlory and the USA’s Billy Horschel in the first two rounds and has admitted that focusing on the job in hand after such a disappointment is new territory.

He added: “It’s not easy. “I haven’t experienced that before so I’m fighting with emotions inside of me.

“I want to focus on the week, it’s a great venue, a great tournament but it’s still somewhere in the back of my mind what happened a couple of days ago. But I hope I will be ready on the first tee and I will give my best as I always do.”

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