Most pundits were surprised to see Adrian Meronk snubbed for the Ryder Cup by Team Europe captain Luke Donald.
Not least Meronk himself, who vented his feelings at an Irish Open press conference days after the captain’s picks were announced.
The Polish golfer was left out in favour of Nicolai Hojgaard and Ludvig Aberg, as Donald turned to youth with one eye on the future.
In the last ten months, Meronk has won the Irish Open, Australian Open and the Italian Open at Marco Simone – where the 2023 Ryder Cup is taking place in Rome.
The 30-year-old nearly earned one of the six automatic spots – and there is a feeling that, if Meronk spent less time on the PGA Tour and made more DP World Tour appearances, he would have easily finished with more European points than Robert MacIntyre.
All that combined made it a bitter pill for Meronk to swallow – and things will not get any easier this week.
The Pole will head to the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth after failing to defend his Irish Open title, finishing T23 at the K Club last week.
Much of the focus in Surrey will be on the upcoming Ryder Cup, which begins on September 29, as every member of Team Europe, including the captain and vice captains, play in the event.
It means everywhere Meronk looks, he will be confronted with an awkward reminder of that disappointing phone call with Donald.
Reacting to the decision in Ireland, 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 on that team but it is what it is, I wish them good luck and I will just focus on my game and move forward.
“I was expecting a call because they told me they were going to call regardless and I was in quite a good mood to be honest. I was on the train coming from Switzerland, I’d had a nice finish and I was in shock.
“I heard from [Donald] that it was tough for him as well but to be honest 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.”
As Wentworth prepares to host the biggest DP World Tour event of the year, Meronk will have a point to prove and a moral victory to pursue.
LIV Golf player Richard Bland even suggested Meronk deserved to be picked over defending BMW PGA champion and major winner Shane Lowry, whose form has dipped recently.
While Team Europe is set in stone, Meronk’s quest to prove Donald’s decision wrong presents an interesting subplot as he takes on all 12 of the men headed to Rome.