Who's Your Ryder Cup Pick?
Who’s your choice for Padraig Harrington’s one Ryder Cup wild card pick when he names his team after the BMW PGA Championship?
One wild card pick? Surely you mean three? I hear you ask.
Nah, as things stand Harrington only has one pick to make; the other two are already decided.
Add Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia to the nine players currently sitting in the automatic places. Following the Omega European Masters and PGA Tour’s BMW Championship, those players are Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland, Paul Casey, Matt Fitzpatrick, Lee Westwood and Shane Lowry.
Garcia is on the verges of making the team automatically. He’s 12th on the World Points list, and 18th on the European points list. Harrington might just be hoping he puts in a good performance in this week’s Tour Championship at East Lake to become one of the nine automatic players. As for Poulter, he’s 14th on the European Points list and 21st on the European points list. The top four players on the European Points list and top five on the World Points list on 12 September automatically make the European team.
As things stand, Poulter and Garcia will be two of Harrington’s Ryder Cup wild picks. No way the Dubliner will be travelling to Whistling Straits to face the United States without those two war horses in his team. You can bet your mortgage on it.
The big question is, who will be Harrington’s third pick. Bernd Wiesberger, Victor Perez and Robert MacIntyre are the bubble boys right now.
Wiesberger has been talked about as Ryder Cup plyer for a few years now. In fact, many expected him to make the team before now. I certainly did. I chose him in a late night conversation over a few glasses of wine with other golf writers in Abu Dhabi at the start of 2018, when the BBC’s excellent 5Live golf correspondent Ian Carter asked fellow scribes for Ryder Cup dark horses. Wiesberger would be closer to automatic selection if he’d closed out the Omega European Masters in Switzerland to add to his Made in Himmerland win in May. Instead, he double bogeyed the last hole to throw the tournament away.
Perez Looked a good bet after he won the 2019 Alfred Dunhill Championship. He’s had three second place finishes since then. He also finished fourth in the WGC–Dell Technologies Match Play in March, but his results have tailed off since. He’s missed more cuts than he’s made. He’s hardly a man in form.
MacIntyre? Oh, how all of Scotland would love to see the lefthander make his Ryder Cup debut. He wouldn’t be fazed by it either. He’s got a lot of hard bark on him. He has three top 10s this year, including eighth in the Open Championship. However, he’s missed three of his last five cuts, including two straight on the Korn Ferry Tour.
Here’s a wee suggestion: how about 20 year old Rasmus Højgaard (above), the man who benefitted from Wiesberger’s collapse on the 72nd hole in Switzerland. Højgaard finished birdie, eagle, birdie, par, par, birdie to post a number Wiesberger couldn’t match.
The Omega European Masters is Højgaard’s third European Tour victory. And he’s only 20. He’s won those three events in just 37 starts. The only other player to win three times in his first 37 European Tour starts? Seve Ballesteros.
Højgaard is 20th on the European points list and 21st on the World Points one. He’s probably too far down the pecking order right now to take Harrington’s last pick. A good finish in the BMW Championship at Wentworth would bring him squarely into the conversation Harrington has with his vice-captains.
Who’s your Ryder Cup pick?
#JustSaying: “I wish I was playing in the Ryder Cup team. How could they beat me? I’ve been struck by lightning, had two back operations and been divorced twice.” Lee Trevino in 1985
Photograph by Getty Images courtesy of the European Tour