Thomas Bjorn makes his four wildcard picks on Wednesday, here are the contenders...
European Ryder Cup Wildcard Contenders
Thomas Bjorn’s final eight European Ryder Cup qualifiers are now confirmed and all he now has to worry about team-wise is his four wildcard picks.
The Great Dane will announce his four wildcard picks on Wednesday 5th September at 2pm live on Sky Sports.
Those four wildcards will join Francesco Molinari, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Alex Noren and Thorbjorn Olesen on Europe’s Ryder Cup team.
Of the eight automatic qualifiers, five of them are rookies so Europe may well take six rookies for the second Ryder Cup in a row.
Due to the number of rookies in Europe’s first eight (USA’s first eight has just one first-timer and if Woods and Mickelson are picked, USA will have a maximum of three rookies), Bjorn will surely be looking to add experience to his side.
Here are the contenders for the four wildcard picks…
European Ryder Cup Wildcard Contenders:
Poults is a Ryder Cup hero and, quite frankly, a dead-cert for a pick. He missed out on the 2016 match through injury but has shown superb form since then, rising back up to world number 26 this year from 199th in April 2017.
Casey re-joined the European Tour for 2018 in a bid to make his first Ryder Cup appearance in 10 years. The current world number 16 is one of the world’s best ball strikers and carries plenty of experience so will be an asset at Le Golf National. He has played in three Ryder Cups and has had 11 top-20s worldwide this year including a win and a runner-up.
The Swede has played in four Ryder Cups and would be one of the most experienced players on the side if he gets a wildcard pick. Stenson, of course, won the 2016 Open and has 20 professional victories. He has struggled with an elbow injury this year but was T5 at The Masters and T6 at the US Open. Like Casey, he is one of the world’s finest ball strikers so will suit Le Golf National.
Matt Wallace (rookie)
The Englishman has thrown a spanner into the works with his incredible Made in Denmark victory where he birdied seven of the last eight holes. Wallace has won four times on the European Tour, three of those this year, and has shown some great spirit, grit and bottle throughout the season.
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Pieters became the first European rookie to win four points at Hazeltine two years ago where he and Rory McIlroy won all three of their matches together. The Belgian has had an average season by his standards but impressed with a T6 at the USPGA Championship and has three other top-10s this year.
Garcia has struggled in 2018 with seven missed cuts but there is no doubting what the 2017 Masters champion can bring to the team if he can find some form. Sergio has played in eight Ryder Cups and has won 33 times as a pro. The Spaniard is another phenomenal ball striker so his game does suit Le Golf National, as seen in his T8th finish at the Open de France this year.
Rafa Cabrera Bello
Cabrera Bello hasn’t quite done enough to play his way onto the side in 2018 but is seriously consistent and can be very dangerous when putting well. Since March 2016, his lowest world ranking has been 36, evidence of his consistency. He made his Ryder Cup debut in 2016 and performed well, winning 2.5 points from three matches.
Russell Knox (rookie)
The Scot missed out on the Ryder Cup team two years ago whilst inside the world’s top 20 and it looks like he may well just fall short again. He won the Irish Open in July and was also T2nd at the Open de France at Le Golf National. He has had a decent season with five top 20s on the PGA Tour but has also missed seven cuts.
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