Langer's Ryder Cup decision looming
European Ryder Cup captain Bernhard Langer has plenty to think about this week.
In just six days' time, he will announce his two wildcard picks to complete his 12-man team for next month's match against the United States at Oakland Hills in Detroit, Michigan.
Wildcard Ryder Cup selection has never been an exact science and the validation, or otherwise, of Langer's decision will be known only once the September 17-19 showdown is over.
The 46-year-old German, a veteran of 10 Ryder Cups as a player, will make his announcement after the BMW International Open in Munich on Sunday.
As things stand, Langer's two picks are likely to come from Britons Colin Montgomerie and Luke Donald, Germany's Alex Cejka and Irishman Paul McGinley, should he be dislodged by Frenchman Jean-Francois Remesy in the European points standings.
McGinley, who holed the winning putt for Europe in the 2002 Ryder Cup at the Belfry, is in ninth place and would come under threat from Remesy and others should he miss the cut in Germany this week.
"There's a lot of pressure, but it's not negative pressure," the Irishman told reporters at the weekend. "It's not like you're trying to make the cut or make a living.
"Everyone knows what's at stake. I really want to get back into the team."
Langer already knows six of his players for Oakland Hills.
Padraig Harrington, Sergio Garcia, Darren Clarke, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Lee Westwood and Thomas Levet booked their places after completing their final rounds in the WGC-NEC Invitational at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio on Sunday.
Irishman Harrington, Spaniards Garcia and Jimenez and Britons Clarke and Westwood automatically qualified as the leading five players in the Ryder Cup world points standings.
Frenchman Levet, the first rookie on Langer's team, cemented his spot by climbing to fourth in the European points standings.
"It's a really nice feeling. It was one of my goals and now I've achieved it," the 35-year-old said at Firestone.
After Levet, Britons Paul Casey (in sixth), David Howell (seventh) and Poulter (eighth) look likely to make their Ryder Cup debuts as well.
Although ninth-placed McGinley could be overhauled by any of Remesy, Swedes Joakim Haeggman and Fredrik Jacobson, Britain's Brian Davis and Graeme McDowell and Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin, Langer is delighted there are so many possibilities.
"I have not just got two or three guys who should come into the equation," he said earlier this month.
"There are probably eight of them, maybe even more, who feel they have a right to be considered."
But Sweden's Jesper Parnevik, a Ryder Cup player in 1997, 1999 and 2002, probably cost himself any chance of a wildcard pick by withdrawing from this week's BMW International Open.
"I think he (Jesper) knows deep down he probably won't get picked," said Langer.
"I certainly have three or four guys who have been playing better over the last six to eight weeks that I will probably go to, but I have not told him 'no' yet."
There is plenty still to ponder for Langer, although the smart money would mark out seven-times European number one Montgomerie and PGA Tour player Donald as his likeliest wildcard picks on Sunday.
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