With four months to go until the Ryder Cup team is named, Thomas Bjorn and his vice-captains will have plenty of selection headaches as they bid to name a strong team of 12 to face a dominant American side in Paris on September 28.
With eight players selected between European and World Points qualification systems, the remaining four slots will be down to the team management.
Here, we take a look at our 12 as it stands.
European Points: 3,096,447.8
Hugely impressive this season, with two third place finishes and one top-10. The Englishman currently tops the European points ahead of Rose, and could have been further ahead but for missing the cut three times in his last four tournaments. One of the most consistent on the tour, the 25-year-old has a class short game and the accurate ball striking ability to trouble the Americans on European soil.
European Points: 2,961,330.2
World Points: 270.14
The Englishman has the world No1 spot in his sights after his victory at the Fort Worth Invitational last week. The 37-year-old has been a crucial part of the Ryder Cup team for a decade now since making his debut in Valhalla in 2008. His partnership with Henrik Stenson took a hit in 2014, but their defeats were against the unstoppable Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed duo. Expect him to shine this year.
European Points: 2,155,802
World Points: 216.99
The Northern Irishman will be Europe’s leading figure when they depart for the French capital later this year. He looks fit and fresh since recovering from the rib injury that curtailed his 2017 season. Victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and second at the BMW PGA Championship last week proves his form is back close to his best. Will be a central player for Thomas Bjorn’s side in September.
European Points: 2,123,431
World Points: 152.61
After winning the BMW PGA Championship, the Italian moved into position to qualify for the Ryder Cup. He is now fourth in the European Points list, ahead of Jon Rahm and Ross Fisher, with the top four qualifying automatically later this season. The 35-year-old represented Europe in the successful 2010 and 2012 campaigns, famously playing Tiger Woods to a draw at Medinah six years ago.
European Points: 2,088,832.9
World Points: 248.36
Now ranked inside the world’s top four, the Spaniard has been a colossus since his breakthrough season in 2017. Currently occupies the qualifying places in the World Tour and is an absolute lock for his Ryder Cup debut. With stunning wins at the DP World Tour Championship, CareerBuilder Challenge and Spanish Open, the 23-year-old has the chance to be a key figure at Le Golf National later this summer.
European Points: 1,481,990.1
World Points: 164.04
The reigning European No1 collected more valuable ranking points after finishing fourth and seventh at the Honda Classic and The Players’ Championship in recent weeks. Has shown an ability to compete at the highest level, finishing fourth at the US Open, and needs to improve over the coming weeks to have any hope of making a debut.
European Points: 1,497,194
World Points: 155.71
The Swede may have missed out on the 2016 edition, but has shown over the last 12 months that he can shine against the best in the world. Clinched a second place finish at Farmer Insurance Open and third-place finishes at the Honda Classic, WGC Match Play and BMW PGA Championship to prove his solid all-round game and mental strength, both of which will make him an excellent partner when Europe go to battle later this year. The 35-year-old currently holds the eighth and final qualifying spot.
European Points: 1,671,446
World Points: 119.46
Aside from Rahm, the Sheffield native is the most promising player on the European Tour at the moment. The 23-year-old continues to make progress and possesses an accurate game ideal for the layout of the tight Parisian course. Although he is ranked 7th in the European Tour and ninth in the World Points, expect Fitzpatrick to close the year with a flourish before team selection in August.
Beat Jordan Spieth in the final day singles at Hazeltine having lost three of his previous four matches. Solid throughout 2017, but his form has dipped in recent months and is still winless this year. Although ranked outside the qualification places, it is certain Bjorn would use one of his wildcard picks to select the Gothenburg native. Imagine the prospect of Stenson and Noren lining up on the first at Le Golf national together?
The Englishman has struggled with a back injury in recent weeks but will be one of the hopefuls to secure a wildcard berth. At 40, his last appearance in the Ryder Cup was 10 years ago in 2008 but is a known inspirational presence on the course. His poor form has seen him slip out of the qualification places, but he has proven to be a trusted lieutenant to previous captains. Could get selected ahead of Sergio Garcia.
He knows how to perform under pressure and has enjoyed a bright start to the new season, with a win at the Houston Open and top six finishes at the Dubai Desert Classic and WGC Match Play. The Hertfordshire native currently holds a qualification spot, but if his game drops, it is likely that Bjorn will call on the four-time Ryder Cup winner to inspire his side to success against a dominant American team.
Boosted his chances of a debut in his home country after winning the Trophee Hassan II last month. The 27-year-old also secured fourth place finishes at the Dubai Desert Classic and Oman Open. Needs to stay consistent if he has any hope of closing the points gap. Has proven he can excel on the grand stage, and should warrant a pick from the captain if he fails to qualify.
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