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Ryder Cup: Poulter edges ahead of Garcia but Harrington's race looks run

Eight of the 12 players that will represented Europe at Medinah have been confirmed. McIlroy and McDowell are two of them.

Tug of war for Ryder Cup captains José Maria Olazábal and Davis Love III.
Tug of war for Ryder Cup captains José Maria Olazábal and Davis Love III.
Image: AP Photo/Jim Prisching

AND THEN THERE was one.

The Johnnie Walker Championships at Gleneagles from 23 August will represent the final chance for most European Ryder Cup hopefuls to make the plane to Illinois in September.

Eight players have been confirmed, at this stage, for José Maria Olazábal’s 12-man team to defend their trophy from the American team under Davis Love III.

Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell will fly the flag for Northern Ireland while Peter Hanson and Paul Lawrie are the latest two golfers to sign up for the pullover-wearing week of competition and fun.

Ian Poulter’s late charge to briefly push McIlroy close at the PGA Championship on Sunday has seen him jump ahead of Sergrio Garcia on the list of automatic European qualifiers.

Poulter said, “This is the last tournament I was going to play for Ryder Cup qualification and I had to play well.

“I was just outside the points, now I’m just inside the points. I don’t know how that’s going to play out obviously with Gleneagles, but hopefully that’s good enough to get me an automatic spot.”

A final throw of the dice

The final two places look set to be fought for by Poulter, Garcia, Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium and former PGA champion Martin Kaymer of Germany. However, David Lynn has come into the reckoning with his second place finish at Kiawah Island.

At of today, only Lynn and Colsaerts have signed up as definite starters for Gleneagles.

It would be no surprise to see Olazábal select Kaymer and one of Garcia or Poulter – whoever finishes outside the automatic spots – as his two wildcards.

Padraig Harrington looks too far back to force himself into the picture. He is ranked higher on the world points list, from which five of the team are selected, but he has not yet signed up to play at the Wyndham Championship this week.

The US team, under captain Love III, have confirmed their eight automatic picks with the recent good form of Jason Dufner and Keegan Bradley securing their spots.

Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk and match-play specialist Hunter Mahan look likely to join them with Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson, barring any surprises, sweating on the final place.

Europe (confirmed): Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Peter Hanson, Francesco Molinari, Paul Lawrie.

USA (confirmed): Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson.

The Ryder Cup takes place at Medinah Country Club, Illinois from 25 September.

In the swing: In this kind of form, McIlroy is untouchable

Opinion: The Irish team has lost part of its spine now that Given’s gone

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About the author:

Patrick McCarry

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