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Ryder Cup Countdown

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With the first big European Tour event of 2020 in the bag, and just 35 weeks remaining until the opening tee shots, the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits will be firmly on the mind of all would-be contestants.

Lee Westwood made a big statement by winning the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and has put himself firmly in the early conversation. Speaking after the event – and perhaps a little tongue in cheek – Westwood claimed that he wasn’t sure if he could survive another Ryder Cup, having played in 10 previous. But you can be certain that, as enjoyable as it may have been to watch, the competitor in him would love one last shot.

Being a Rolex series event week, no points were accumulated on the World Points List last week, so Justin Rose’s second place finish in Singapore is of no value to the Englishman as far as the Ryder Cup is concerned.

With few of the top name Americans in action on the PGA Tour, there was no change in the pecking order in the eight automatic selection slots, however Rickie Fowler, who has played in every Ryder Cup since 2010, missed an opportunity when firing a disappointing final round 71 and slipping to a tied-10th place finish at the American Express Championship at La Quinta last weekend.

Victory would’ve seen Fowler leapfrog the likes of Patrick Reed, Matt Kuchar, Tony Finau, Patrick Cantlay, Kevin Kisner and Webb Simpson. Instead, he in turn was leapfrogged by Andrew Landry.

As it stands:

Team Europe

  1. Tommy Fleetwood
  2. Jon Rahm
  3. Victor Perez
  4. Rory McIlroy
  5. Danny Willett
  6. Tyrell Hatton
  7. Bernd Weisberger
  8. Henrik Stenson
  9. Matt Fitzpatrick

*Comprised of the top four players on the European Points List and the next five players from the World Points List who are not already included.

European Points List – The Big Movers

Tommy Fleetwood – Up 1 place

Matt Fitzpatrick – Up 4 places to #5

Lee Westwood – Up 16 places to #9

 

Team USA

  1. Brooks Koepka
  2. Dustin Johnson
  3. Gary Woodland
  4. Xander Schauffele
  5. Justin Thomas
  6. Tiger Woods
  7. Webb Simpson
  8. Kevin Kisner

*Comprised of the top eight points scorers on the PGA Tour’s Ryder Cup points list

PGA Tour Points List – The Big Movers

Andrew Landry – Up 58 places to #13

 

The Locks – Team Europe

Rory McIlroy – Unless he breaks a leg, he qualifies with ease.

Jon Rahm – A rookie last time round, Rahm was already a world star and he’s only gotten better since.

Tommy Fleetwood – A pure ball-striking machine, Tommy’s last missed cut came at the 2018 Open de France. He got the last laugh at Le Golf National later that year.

Team USA

Brooks Koepka – The most points are available at the biggest events and we all know that’s where Brooksy hangs.

Justin Thomas – Already off to a winning start in 2020, he will qualify with ease and will be the one all the Americans want to play with.

Xander Schauffele – Desperately unlucky not to get a pick last time round, he has since become one of the top players in the world.

 

The Probables – Team Europe

Sergio Garcia – Got the pick last time but in much better form since. Hard to see him not forcing his way on automatically this year.

Justin Rose – Slipped to number eight in the world last year after a great start to the year, but will probably do enough in the big events to see him through.

Team USA

Dustin Johnson – The Tournament of Champions earlier this month was his first top 10 since the PGA Championship last May. Hard to see that form continuing, so hard to see him not qualifying.

Tiger Woods – Expect him to play about 12 – 14 events between now and the cut-off point. If he stays healthy, he qualifies.

The Might Need a Picks

Team Europe

Francesco Molinari – The Hero of Le Golf National, but his 2019 season remains anchored to the bottom of Rae’s Creek.

Shane Lowry – The Open Champion, but it’s hard to repeat that kind of year. Needs more big performances in the big events to ease Harrington’s burden.

Team USA

Jordan Spieth – This goes without saying as he needed one and didn’t get it for the Presidents Cup. Where has it all gone wrong Jordan?

Rickie Fowler – The 13th man on the Presidents Cup team. They’d want him there, but there’s a serious depth of talent and only eight automatic slots.

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Ryder Cup Legends – Lanny Wadkins

The latest to feature in our Ryder Cup legends series is perhaps the only American to have outplayed and outwitted Seve Ballesteros in the famous biennial event