While Sergio Garcia’s victory at the Wyndham Championship secured the ninth automatic qualifying spot for the European Ryder Cup team, the tenth and final position is still up for grabs.
Martin Kaymer is currently clinging on for dear life, but here’s where it gets confusing.
Rafael Cabrera-Bello and David Lynn will wake up this morning to discover they will both now need to rely on picks after their automatic chances were wiped out by Peter Hanson.
The Swede, already in the side, has pulled out of the Gleneagles tournament to rest, meaning there is less world ranking points on offer.
This means even a victory for Cabrera-Bello or Lynn wouldn’t be enough to displace Kaymer – leaving Nicolas Colsaerts as the German’s only rival to the tenth spot.
If the Belgian finishes in the top-two this week, he’ll make the team. But he might not need to worry after captain José María Olazábal dropped a huge hint as to who his two wildcard picks will be.
“I am confident we will have a strong team especially with a number of players finishing among the top-ten on the leaderboard at the Open and PGA.”
This will be a massive boost for Colsaerts and Englishman Ian Poulter, who finished tied-seventh at Royal Lytham and tied-third at Kiawah Island respectively.
For the US team, automatic qualification has already closed – but there are still two tournaments for those outside to claim one of four of Davis Love’s captain’s picks. The likes of Hunter Mahan, Steve Stricker, Jim, Furyk, Rickie Fowler, Brandt Snedeker and Dustin Johnson all failed to qualify, leaving Love with quite a headache.
Like many golf fans across the globe, the Ryder Cup is the only topic leaving our lips since Rory McIlroy lifted the PGA Championship.
Stricker and Mahan seem certainties, and last week we fancied Love to renew the Furyk and Fowler partnership which did well at Celtic Manor. This hasn’t changed.
On our side of the Pond, we have two scenarios. If Kaymer holds on, Olazábal has a decision to make. Poulter’s spot is pretty nailed on, but then does he go with in-form and relatively-unknown-to-the-Americans Colsaerts, or experienced Ryder Cupper Padraig Harrington? Then of course there’s Lynn and Olazábal’s compatriot Cabrera-Bello.
If Colsaerts does snatch a place at Gleneagles, we can’t see Kaymer being in the running for a pick, which would again leave it down to Poulter, Lynn, Cabrera-Bello and Harrington.
In Scenario A, we’d take Poulter and Colsaerts. In Scenario B, Poulter and Harrington.
Phew. Roll on next week…
US automatic qualifiers: Tiger Woods; Bubba Watson; Jason Dufner; Keegan Bradley; Webb Simpson; Zach Johnson; Matt Kuchar; Phil Mickelson
Next ten in standings: Hunter Mahan; Steve Stricker; Jim Furyk; Rickie Fowler; Brandt Snedeker; Bo Van Pelt; Dustin Johnson; Robert Garrigus; Bill Haas; Ben Curtis
European Points List qualifiers: Rory McIlroy (NI); Justin Rose (Eng); Graeme McDowell (NI); Paul Lawrie (Sco); Francesco Molinari (Ita)
World Points List qualifers (top five not already qualified through EPL): Luke Donald (Eng); Lee Westwood (Eng); Peter Hanson (Swe); Sergio Garcia (Spa); Martin Kaymer (Ger)
Next ten in standings: Ian Poulter (Eng); Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel); Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spa); David Lynn (Eng); Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa); Alvaro Quiros (Spa); Marcel Siem (Ger); Thomas Bjorn (Den); Joost Luiten (Hol); Jamie Donaldson (Wal)
Golfmagic’s wildcard picks: Hunter Mahan, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker and Rickie Fowler for the US; Ian Poulter and Nicolas Colsaerts (if Kaymer qualifies) or Padraig Harrington (if Colsaerts qualifies) for Europe.