What would Europe's Ryder Cup team look life if a British 'Brexit' referendum vote had implications in relation to the biennial matches?

Europe’s post-Brexit Ryder Cup team

As ‘Brexit’ talk intensifies and the referendum on a potential British split from the European Union draws ever closer, it’s prudent to understand the ramifications.

One of those, however, isn’t a return to the pre-1979 days where Great Britain and Ireland took on America in the Ryder Cup. But what if it was?

As per the current standings, what would the GB&I side look like and would it have any chance against the Americans? Similarly, if Continental Europe were to take on the USA, who would make the line-up for Hazeltine?

Let’s find out, using the current points lists… (for the purpose of this exercise, we’re excluding captain’s picks and assuming all 12 players qualify automatically)

GB&I

Danny Willett
Rory McIlroy
Chris Wood
Matthew Fitzpatrick
Justin Rose
Andy Sullivan
Lee Westwood
Graeme McDowell
Jamie Donaldson
Russell Knox
Ross Fisher
Lee Slattery

Related: Rory McIlroy swing sequence

Continental Europe

Henrik Stenson
Sergio Garcia
Rafa Cabrera Bello
Victor Dubuisson
Soren Kjeldsen
Thorbjorn Olesen
Kristoffer Broberg
Thomas Pieters
Rikard Karlberg
Martin Kaymer
Lucas Bjerregaard
Joost Luiten

Currently, they would be taking on…

Jordan Spieth
Dustin Johnson
Bubba Watson
Brandt Snedeker
Rickie Fowler
Zach Johnson
Phil Mickelson
Patrick Reed
Brooks Koepka
Matt Kuchar
JB Holmes
Charley Hoffman

There’s a lot of talk at the moment that the USA have the much stronger team on paper, but I simply don’t agree. I don’t think it would be a thrashing if the current side took on either Continental Europe or GB&I. Plus, it’s hardly as if any massive names who are likely to get a captain’s pick are missing from that list.

The likes of Jason Dufner, Hunter Mahan, Jim Furyk and Jimmy Walker don’t instil great fear and it’s always difficult to predict how prospective debutants like Justin Thomas and Smylie Kaufman will perform.

When you merge both European sides, it becomes clear how much strength in depth there is. What’s more, it seems there’s going to be an excellent balance between experienced stalwarts and talented newcomers. You’d expect Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Martin Kaymer and Graeme McDowell/Lee Westwood/Ian Poulter to make the side, leaving Masters Champion Danny Willett and a whole host of other top players to plug the remaining gaps.

The American side will be strong, of that there’s no doubt, but it looks to me that Europe is in excellent shape heading into the matches at Hazeltine.