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Richie Ramsay: Don’t rule out a late Ryder Cup charge at Wentworth this week

In-form Henrik Stenson is making a case for his inclusion in the European team.
In-form Henrik Stenson is making a case for his inclusion in the European team.

This week’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth could have a massive bearing on the European Ryder Cup team.

The nine automatic spots will be confirmed following the Rolex Series event before captain Padraig Harrington names his three wildcards.

It is going to be a difficult decision for him but the expectation is that he will go for experience.

If they need a captain’s pick, I would expect Sergio Garcia to definitely get one and Ian Poulter will probably be in the team too.

But the final spot is wide open.

I think it is between Henrik Stenson, Bernd Wiesberger, Alex Noren and Robert MacIntyre for the final pick.

Justin Rose has been out of form so I’m not expecting him to make the team this time.

Wentworth is going to have a huge effect because if any of those players on the periphery win or finish second then they could bag a late spot in the team.

And if two of the picks are Garcia and Poulter then Padraig may be inclined to look to bring in a form player, even if it that is a rookie.

The data suggests playing two rookies together is not the way to go so he will want to have enough experience in the team.

Noren finished tied fourth at the Northern Trust and tied ninth at the BMW Championship so he is in decent form.

Alex Noren has triumphed at Wentworth before and is one to watch this week. 

He has also won at Wentworth before so he could be one to watch. Henrik Stenson is also showing some strong form so it may come down to those two.

Steve Stricker has a slightly different selection dilemma because he has opted for six automatic picks and six wildcards.

I think four wildcards gives a captain plenty of flexibility but six picks seems harsh on those players who play well throughout the season and would ordinarily make the team.

Whistling Straits is the host venue and it’s a course I played in the US PGA Championship in 2015.

It is a tricky course and that may help the Europeans. It feels a bit like Kingsbarns as there are quite a few holes that run alongside the water.

There are lots of bunkers and waste areas. It is not a course that would typically play to the strengths of the United States team.

They might cut down the rough to make it a bit easier but the small bunkers can be quite tricky to get out of because you often don’t have a very good stance.

Hitting fairways is a premium around there.

Robert MacIntyre will be looking for a strong end to his Ryder Cup qualification bid.

The other advantage that the Europeans have at home is that our host venues tend to be courses that feature in regular tour events, such as Gleneagles and Le Golf National so the players get a real feel for them.

They know the shots required to play that course, whereas Whistling Straits is a venue that many of the European players will know just as well as many of the American players.

I still think the Americans will go in as favourites but not by much.

It is going to be incredibly entertaining and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if someone produces a performance at Wentworth that gets them into Padraig’s team.

 

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