Ryder Cup veterans Des Smyth and Christy O'Connor Jnr are "surprised" and "disappointed" that Nick Faldo snubbed Darren Clarke for a Valhalla wild card.

Clarke, 40, looked like a certainty to earn his sixth Ryder Cup cap following his second win of the season in Holland last week.

And Irish stalwarts Smyth and O'Connor Jnr are amazed that Faldo opted for Ian Poulter and Paul Casey ahead of the experienced Dungannon man.

European vice-captain in 2006, Smyth said: "I think we are all disappointed that Clarke didn't get picked. He was the obvious choice in my opinion - the first obvious choice.

"Casey and Poulter are strong players but I am disappointed for Darren because I thought he was a shoe in, I really did.

"After his performances this year and his second win last week, when the other guys haven't won, I definitely would have fancied him to beat the other two guys in a Ryder Cup match.

"It looked on the face of it that this is what Nick Faldo was going to do all along, which was disappointing.

"I don't believe what they are saying. He said he told Poulter to pack his bags and go and play at Gleneagles. And then Poulter decided against it.

"Well that in itself should have put him out. I am surprised. I am very surprised. I would have gone with Clarke and Casey for sure."

Speaking from Portugal, O'Connor Jnr confessed that he was amazed when he heard the news.

Europe's match winning hero in 1989, the Galway man said: "I got the same shock as everybody got. Well shocked is probably not the right word because Poulter is a hell of a player. But I did think that Clarke would have been one of Faldo's picks.

"I thought Faldo needed a bit more experience and maturity on the team and Darren would have fitted the bill.

"I would have picked Casey and Clarke. They have been my choices for the past month and I still would have stood with them.

"I really felt that Darren was going to be the third Irishman on the team after winning in Holland in the fashion he did. You can't beat winners in my book."

Smyth watched the announcement on TV and felt that vice-captain Jose Maria Olazabal was not fully behind the decision to pick Poulter and Casey ahead of Clarke.

He explained: "I got the feeling watching (Jose Maria) Olazabal that he was putting up a front there. I don't think that Olazabal agreed with the decision, if you read the body language. But he said it was Nick's decision and went with that."

However, Smyth was not surprised that Faldo decided not to offer Paul McGinley an assistant's role alongside Olazabal,

McGinley resigned to concentrate on making the side but finished nearly €500,000 outside the 10 automatic qualifiers in 19th place.

Smyth said: "Paul withdrew from that role last year and I don't think he was ever going to get back in. Once you pull out, you are out."