At this time every two years, when the Ryder Cup points race gets too hot to touch, the last thing contending golfers want to do it talk about it. They want to concentrate on one tournament at a time, one round at a time, one hole at a time.
Marcel Siem has tried that, and it hasn’t worked. So as he prepares for one of the most important weekends of his career at the 2012 PGA Championship, the German golfer is talking about the Ryder Cup openly – persistently, even – as he looks to make the European team for the first time.
“At the Open and the Bridgestone everybody started talking about the Ryder Cup and it was the first time I have been in that position,” says Siem, 32, who won the 2012 French Open. “I didn’t know how to handle that and I said to myself, just don’t think about it. But then I was in no-man’s land with no goals, so this week I need some pressure, let’s talk about the Ryder Cup. I want to get in there. I’m pretty far away, but this is my goal now. I just want to go for it.”
Coming into the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, Siem was 15th on the Ryder Cup team’s European Points list, from which the first five members of the team qualify, and he is 16th on the World Points List, from which the next five golfers qualify. Two excellent rounds this weekend, though, could place Siem on the brink of automatic qualification.
That gap between Siem and automatic qualification contains formidable competition, like Ryder Cup specialist Ian Poulter, who is a shot off the halfway lead here, Siem’s close friend Nicholas Colsaerts, and Spaniards Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Gonzalo Fdez-Castano. Colsaerts and Cabrera-Bello missed the cut yesterday to stall their progress towards Jose Maria Olazabal’s team, while Fdez-Castano sits well poised at one-over-par for two rounds, in a share of 16th place and five shots off the lead at the start of round three, along with Siem.
“I really love playing in these big tournaments,” adds Siem, who is playing in his first PGA Championship this week. “That is what I work for, to be playing with the big players and bigger crowds, and now I have worked myself into this tournament. Hopefully I can show some fist-pumping again if my putter can warm up. I have not been able to do any fist pumps over the past two weeks, which has been horrible for me!”
Siem tees of in the third round this afternoon at 1:30 (US eastern time) with American Pat Perez.
Story courtesy of Mercedes-Benz, official car of the 2012 PGA Championship