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European Ryder Cup spots still up for grabs

Fairway Views/Nick Tarratt/Dubai
Filed on September 7, 2021
Padraig Harrington of Ireland. (AFP)

Everyone has an opinion and each player will feel he deserves to be on the plane to the US


There are always important weeks in any golfing season.

We have just witnessed a great week of golf with both a sensational Solheim Cup with Europe winning on US soil alongside the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour.

The Majors are obviously at the top of any such list as well as the Ryder Cup. Another highlight week is the season-ending tournament on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, the DP World Tour Championship. And for each golf club, city and country hosting events at all levels, they are all big weeks.

Thursday sees the first round of the 2021 BMW PGA Championship at the headquarters of the European Tour.

It is such an important week at Wentworth on so many levels for all the players.

Firstly, there is the tournament itself, boasting an increased prize fund of $8 million, a Rolex Series event.

It’s the 31st event of the 39-tournament season as we enter the autumn of the 2020-2021 European Tour calendar.

A typically strong field has been assembled as 17 of the top 50 in the world rankings have committed to play.

The week will also have an international flavour as Billy Horschel of the US and Adam Scott of Australia have entered. They are lying in 28th and 39th positions respectively in the rankings table. Horschel also sits in fourth place on the current Race to Dubai.

There are significant ranking points available, players trying to retain their playing privileges on the European Tour, as well as Race to Dubai points to get in the mix for the DP World Tour Championship at the end of November on Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

For the statisticians reading this column, the provisional cut off for retention of European Tour membership is number 126 on the Race to Dubai (visit www.europeantour.com).

Finally, and perhaps most topically, this week’s event is the final qualifier for the European Ryder Cup Team.

It seems that the nine automatic spots are all but locked up, so it is now all up to captain Padraig Harrington to make his final three picks.

Defending champion Tyrrell Hatton, Viktor Hovland, Matt Fitzpatrick, Lee Westwood, Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry and Ian Poulter are playing at Wentworth with an eye on the Ryder Cup spots.

Every week, the goalposts seem to change for captain Harrington and it was never going to be easy to decide his picks on Sunday evening after the final round this week.

Everyone has an opinion and each player will feel he deserves to be on the plane to the US. That is the nature of all these golfers.

Will a successful campaign this week from the likes of Justin Rose, Bernd Wiesberger, Victor Perez, Henrik Stenson, Robert MacIntyre, Francesco Molinari, Alex Noren or someone else catch the eye of Harrington?

Captain Harrington has always stressed the importance of selecting in-form players and now is his time to make those decisions.

The US Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker will announce his six picks on Wednesday.

The first ball in the 2020 Ryder Cup will be struck on September 24 at Whistling Straits, US.

There is no doubt that after the correct decision to postpone last year’s event with Covid restrictions, the 2020 Ryder Cup is set to be another highlight on the 2021 golfing calendar.

fairwayviewskt@gmail.com





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