Ryder Cup: Could we see some surprise appearances on team Europe?

GOLF: MAR 08 PGA – Arnold Palmer Invitational
ORLANDO, FL – MARCH 08: Tyrell Hatton of England tees off on hole 15 during the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational on March 8, 2020, at Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, FL.(Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire)

The BMW PGA Championship takes place at Wentworth this week and while the dust is settling on a tense close to the FedEx Playoffs, all eyes are now on the Race to Dubai and more importantly, Padraig Harrington and the Team Europe selection.

Harrington will be in action this week, but the three-time Ryder Cup winner will have bigger things on his mind. As far as Team Europe goes, the top four players in the European Tour points list will automatically qualify, as well as the next five on the worlds points list.

As of right now, only six are guaranteed locks:

John Rahm
Paul Casey
Viktor Hovland
Tommy Fleetwood
Rory Mcilroy

Although Rory’s route to the roster is uncertain, he’s a lock to make his sixth Ryder Cup appearance. As for the remainder of the team, a strong performance at Wentworth will go a long way in convincing the captain that they’re worthy of selection.

Lee Westwood and Shane Lowry occupy the final pair of automatic-qualifying spots, with Matt Fitzpatrick also mathematically likely to qualify. At here are a lot of golfers who will be chasing the pair down this week. It’s so important for those looking to realize, their dreams to make an impact this week. It’s highly likely that Sergio Garcia would occupy at least one wildcard spot, with some other savvy veterans primed to return to the biggest stage of all.

The big names

Tyrell Hatton

Tyrell Hatton should make the team fairly comfortably, but he will be the hottest name heading into tomorrow’s BMW PGA Championship. Hatton won the event last year and put together a relatively strong campaign in 2021, amassing 4 top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour.

After winning at Wentworth last year and going on to secure the Abu Dhabi CHampionship, his form started to slip, with the Englishman missing the cut in three of his last five tournaments. However, with the pressure on, he should be able to make enough noise to secure a spot.

Ranking 18th in shots gained from tee to green, it’s easy to see why the 29-year-old is likely to make his second Ryder Cup appearance after picking up a point in three matches back in 2018. However, breaking that poor run of form will be key.

Bernd Wiesberger

One of the names most likely to spring a surprise this week, Wiesberger can jump Mcllroy in the standings with a top-50 finish this week. It sounds simple, but it could prove to be anything but.

The eight-time European Tour winner had an electric end to his 2021 season and very almost added another trophy to his collection at the end of August had it not been for a heartbreaking double bogey on the 18th. He can’t afford those kind of errors with the pressure at its highest in Surrey this week if he is to make his Ryder Cup debut.

The chasing pack

Robert MacIntyre has surged onto the PGA scene this year and has every chance of ending his year inside the world’s top-50 golfers. A stunning 8th place finish at the open Championship set a very high bar, but one that he’s continued to push closer to reaching. He ranks 5th in shots gained tee-to-green, and if his putter heats up, he could absolutely be a key contender to win the event. Like Guido Migliozzi and Thomas Detry, he’ll need to finish second or better to jump Rory Mcllroy and secure his spot without the need of a wildcard.

Rasmus Hojgaard was the man to snatch victory from the clutches of Wiesberger just two weeks ago, and he’ll need to win again to secure his spot on the team. The same goes for players such as Ian Poulter and Justin Rose, who are also both candidates for a wildcard pick given their veteran presence. A red-hot Henrik Stenson also finds himself in the same boat.

Padraig Harrington will announce his selections in a special show on Sky Sports following the conclusion of the BMW PGA Championship.

Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire