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European Ryder Cup race ends at Gleneagles

The race for Ryder Cup points enters its last lap in this week’s Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

With Europe’s team being decided on Sunday night, only seven places are already assured of the 12 who will feature under non-playing captain Nick Faldo against United States at Valhalla, Kentucky from September 19-21.

Three of the automatic qualifiers are still in doubt and Faldo will also add two wildcard selections once the top-10 places have unraveled at the close of the Scottish event.

British pair Justin Rose (eighth in the Cup table) and Oliver Wilson (10th) and Soren Hansen of Denmark (ninth) are the three players desperately trying to remain in the top-10.

The only players who could overtake the trio at Gleneagles are German Martin Kaymer (11th) and Britons Ross Fisher (13th) and Nick Dougherty (14th).

Ian Poulter (12th) decided not to return from the U.S. PGA Tour to Europe to attempt to play his way into the team and the Briton is one of several players hoping for a wildcard from Faldo.

Faldo dropped a broad hint while commentating on television at the Barclays Classic in New Jersey at the weekend that he had Briton Paul Casey in mind for a pick.

The skipper said Casey would be in the team if he made a birdie on the last hole on Sunday which the player duly achieved. Faldo, though, quickly withdrew his comment.

Darren Clarke’s four-shot victory in Sunday’s Dutch Open has also made the Ryder Cup stalwart one of the favorites for a wildcard.

Eight-times European number one Colin Montgomerie is another contender for one of Faldo’s two picks.

But unless he wins at Gleneagles the 45-year-old Scot’s selection would only be for his sparkling Ryder Cup record, having yet to be beaten in eight singles matches in the biennial team event.

Montgomerie has taken the last two weeks off rather than try to qualify for the European team and has struggled for form all season.

The Johnnie Walker event starts on Thursday.


August 27, 2008

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