The golfer who made the most pressing case for inclusion in the European team is Steven Gallacher who so narrowly, by finishing third in the Italian Open, missed out on an automatic pick. Graeme MacDowell must have been sweating over his new baby’s nappies as he opted, and nearly missed, out. The nine are Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Thomas Bjorn, Victor Dubuisson, Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer and Jamie Donaldson. Paul McGinley’s quandary is who out of his three stalwarts of Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter he picks? I reckon he will omit Donald, the least in form, for Gallacher.
As for the Americans, their automatics are Bubba Watson, Ricky Fowler, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Jimmy Walker, Zach Johnson, Patrick Reed and Matt Kuchar. I reckon Tom Watson will then go for Webb Simpson, Keegan Bradley and Hunter Mahan based on recent form. The first two are doing well at the Deutsche Bank whilst Mahan recently won the Barclays. His two stalwarts Dustin Johnson and Tiger Woods have ruled themselves out.
Certainly the Europeans have a stronger look. They have more major winners and the best in the world in Rory. Some might be concerned by the young Frenchman Victor Dubuisson’s lack of experience but he played valiantly in the Accenture matchplay in the final against Jason Day. I would be more worried if Westwood or Poulter could raise their game . Solid golfers on the tour like Marc Warren, Francesco Molinari and Joost Luiten might complain of an English bias.
South African Otto took the Italian Open with David Howell second and the Deutsche Bank is wide open going into the final day. Rory headed up the leader board to challenge playing some brilliant golf and captain Watson must have been concerned by Patrick Reed who collapsed on the third day to miss the second cut.
Of course match play and stroke play are two very different games and the Ryder Cup is full of surprises with golfers like Philip Price pulling off victories whilst Tiger Woods,whilst unchallenged as the best in the world, had only one singles win to his name.