Lee Westwood gave his views on the Ryder Cup qualification system that has left captain, Padraig Harrington with a slight conundrum.
Lee Westwood – “They Don’t Need This Week, Two Weeks Before The Ryder Cup”
The Ryder Cup gets underway in just two weeks, with the European team set to be finalised on Sunday evening after the completion of the BMW PGA Championship.
But, in what has been a chaotic selection process in determining the remaining automatic spots for team Europe, Lee Westwood says “players don’t need this week, two weeks before the Ryder Cup.”
Westwood, who survived the halfway cut at Wentworth and should now be safe for a spot in Padraig Harrington’s team, said on Friday “there’s so many variables, as well, with the way we’ve set up the qualification this time around.
“This tournament is heavily loaded compared to everything else we’ve done, and I think it’s something to maybe look at in the future. I think some of the guys turning up here don’t need this week right now, knowing what the Ryder Cup is like, they don’t need this week, two weeks before the Ryder Cup. It is going to be draining for a few, and you want to be going into the Ryder Cup fresh.
“You can see how players are reacting to it out on the golf course. You know there’s people right in there and they are shooting scores where clearly they have got other things on their mind.
“I’ve played with Shane (Lowry), he’s managed to block everything out well and play well, and Shane Lowry is the kind of player that you want on your Ryder Cup team. I’m pleased to see him play well.”
The new qualifying process, which captain Harrington devised, is causing a bit of a headache for the three-time Major champion, with a number of possible permutations occurring after Wentworth is completed.
With the BMW PGA Championship the last qualifying event, Bernd Wiesberger is currently projected to knock out Lowry and leave him requiring a pick. This is despite Lowry being two shots clear of Wiesberger going into the weekend.
The reason for this is due to the two qualifying lists. The top four on the European Points standings (e.g. points earned on the European Tour) qualify and then so do the top five on the World Points (e.g. world ranking points earned).
Related: How To Qualify For The Ryder Cup
Because of Rory McIlroy’s absence from the event, Wiesberger now only requires a top 50 finish at Wentworth to overtake McIlroy in the European Points list and in that scenario, McIlroy would then get in on the world points, meaning Lowry drops out.
The situation gets more tricky by the fact that, potentially, Lowry could move above Westwood in the world points, meaning only five players have guaranteed their spots at Whistling Straits so far (Jon Rahm, Paul Casey, Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland and Tommy Fleetwood).
“Hopefully I don’t need a pick on Sunday evening,” Lowry said. “I’ve played some good golf over the last few months. I’ve put my hand up as much as I could have over the last while, and it’s up to Paddy what he wants to do on Sunday evening. But hopefully I don’t need that pick, and first and foremost I can go out and do the business this weekend and win the tournament.”
With Harrington announcing his picks on Sunday, it seems that the wildcard picks will be between Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose and Lowry. With Harrington previously stating in May, to Telegraph Sport, that “Garcia would almost need to lose a limb not to be picked” and that Poulter “is not far behind.”
Therefore, it seems that the decision will come down to Rose or Lowry with the final spot, but, once again, that could all change over the weekend.
On reflection, the new system appears to have taken the shine off the tournament, with the battle for the remining Ryder Cup places in danger of overshadowing the actual competition….