The golf majors may be over for another year but don’t worry, there’s some good news on the horizon. The Ryder Cup swings into action next month and the world’s best players have been doing everything they can to be selected for the teams.
Brian Harman did his chances of making the USA team no harm as he shocked the world to win The Open last month. Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy is back to his best and he’ll be hoping to help captain Luke Donald bring the Ryder Cup back to Europe.
Ahead of the iconic competition getting underway in Italy, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know.
A few weeks ago, Harman wouldn’t have been on USA captain Zach Johnson’s radar. But the American looks set to make his Ryder Cup debut next month after masterminding a fairytale win at The Open.
Harman won the Claret Jug back in July after finishing 13 under at a rain-soaked Royal Liverpool. The 36-year-old was a 125-1 shot before the tournament but being an outsider didn’t seem to faze him. Harman’s lead never dropped below three all weekend and he’s just the third ever left-handed Open champion.
McIlroy finished six under in a good showing as he continued his strong form having won the Scottish Open the week before. He beat Scotsman Robert MacIntyre by one after hitting an incredible 200-yarder to set up a crucial birdie on the 18th.
McIlroy is now second in the world rankings and is the first ever player to win The Open, the Scottish Open and the Irish Open.
All eyes are now on the Ryder Cup, with the four majors done and dusted for another year. Jon Rahm won the Masters while Brooks Koepka came out on top in the PGA Championship. McIlroy came close to winning the US Open in June but he lost out to Wyndham Clark by one shot.
The Ryder Cup returns to Europe this summer and it’s the turn of the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club near Rome to host. The famous competition takes place from Friday 29th September to Sunday 1st October and Europe are looking to reclaim the cup from the USA, who won 19-9 in Wisconsin two years ago.
Each team will consist of 12 players, with slightly different selection criterias for each. Donald will captain Europe and his side will be made up of the top three players based on European points, the top three based on World points and six players of his own choice.
USA captain Johnson will lead the top six players based on qualification points and again will choose the other six.
The first two days of golf will consist of four foursome matches and four four-ball matches. The Ryder Cup will then conclude on the final day with 12 singles matches. Overall, there are 28 points on offer. Teams need 14.5 points to win the Ryder Cup but in the event of a tie, USA will retain the cup as holders.
Two of the European spots are already secured. McIlroy’s impressive form of late puts him top of the rankings and he’ll be looking to be on the winning side for the fifth time. Rahm will also be in the team after tying for second with seven under at The Open.
As it stands MacIntyre is in pole position to make the cut. He sits third in the European points rankings following his fine showing at the Scottish Open. The front runners in the World points ranking are currently Viktor Hovland and Tyrrell Hatton, who were in the team last time out, as well as Tommy Fleetwood.
For the USA, world number one Scottie Scheffler is guaranteed to be on the plane. Elsewhere, Clark and Harman are expected to make their Ryder Cup debuts following their major wins this year.
Brooks Koepka, Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay make up the rest of the top six and will be in the team as it stands. But both sides will not be named for a while (Europe on 3rd September and USA on 20th August) so there’s still time for the rankings to change.
Adrian Meronk should make the cut for Europe after a strong season. The 30-year-old scored an impressive 67 in the final round at The Open and won the Italian Open earlier this year. He’s also had five top five finishes so will undoubtedly be on Donald’s radar.
Austrian Sepp Straka tied for second at The Open so should be a shoo-in, while Yannik Paul is currently fourth in the European points rankings. Elsewhere, Shane Lowry, Justin Rose and Matt Fitzpatrick could be considered.
While no captain picks have officially been announced for the USA, vice-captain Fred Couples has already let slip some of the names that will be on the team. During an interview last week, he revealed that Jordan Spieth, Max Homa and Cameron Young will all be included.
Rickie Fowler will be considered, having won the Rocket Mortgage Classic, as well as finishing in the top five at the US Open. Keegan Bradley and Collin Morikawa are also currently in the top 12 of the US rankings so will be looking to impress Johnson over the coming weeks.
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