Jacklin, the most successful European captain in Ryder Cup history with two wins and a tie from four matches in charge between 1983 and 1989, said the woefully out-of-form Garcia, who was the 2017 US Masters champion, was living on past glories.
“Sergio was very fortunate to get a pick from captain Thomas Bjorn,” Jacklin said. “He wouldn’t have been my choice.
“I thought Thomas really stuck his neck out by putting Sergio in. I just don’t think he’s played well enough. I’m a big Sergio fan, he’s been one of the world’s greatest players for the last 10 years or so, but personally I’d have put Wallace in.
“I can’t think of a similar instance in the past when someone has been picked who has been so out of form. Sergio’s had an abysmal year, he’s missed eight cuts out of 10,” said Jacklin.
“As far as I’m concerned he’s been picked on past glories. He brought a lot to the team with the spirit he had when he was on top of his game. I know what he has brought to the Ryder Cup table in the past but that’s the past and this is now.”
Wallace has won three European Tour events this season, including last Sunday’s Made In Denmark event.
The 28-year-old Englishman was overlooked by Bjorn on Wednesday when he announced Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey and Ian Poulter as his wildcard selections for the matches against the U.S. holders in Paris from September 28-30.
“Obviously Thomas and all his vice-captains are happy with what they’ve got,” said Jacklin. “They’ve gone with experience but it’s a bit of a bummer for Wallace not to be picked.
“I think he could have done very well if he was paired with an experienced player like Justin Rose, someone like that, because he makes a lot of birdies.
“But it’s down to Thomas. The buck stops with him when all is said and done. He’s been the one who’s been observing all the players.
“He’s the closest to the guys and he clearly thinks he can get some form out of Sergio that can benefit the team but the Ryder Cup is not the place for a player to be searching for form.”
Jacklin says if he was in charge, the fast-improving Wallace would have played in both sessions on the opening day at Le Golf National later this month.
“I remember putting the young Paul Way with Seve Ballesteros when we beat the Americans for the first time in 28 years at The Belfry in 1985,” he added.
“It relaxed Paul and allowed him to do his own thing. I think Wallace, with the form he’s showing, should have been down to play the foursomes and the fourballs on the first day with the extra comfort of having an experienced player alongside him.”
Tony Jacklin CBE is one of golf’s most acclaimed after dinner speakers. He will be hosting the Tony Jacklin Charity Golf Invitational event at The Belfry on Sept. 24 in partnership with Champions (UK) plc.