American Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk will make his final captain’s pick after the conclusion of the BMW Championship on Sunday night (early Monday morning UAE time).
Furyk – who last week named Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau as three of his four picks – will compete his line-up after the PGA Tour event in Philadelphia.
With Tony Finau and Xander Schauffele thought to be the most likely candidates to seal the final captain’s pick, we take a look at both players’ form in 2018.
The American has been superb this season, with top-10 finishes in the three major events – T10 at Augusta, fifth at Shinnecock Hills and T9 at Carnoustie.
His overall record in 2018 is rock solid, recording four top-5s, four top-10s and five top-25s in 21 starts, including second place at the Genesis Open and the Northern Trust.
The powerful Utah man, who ranks third on the PGA Tour in driving distance (316.3 yards), continues to find his way on the big stage and would be a serious addition to the American Ryder Cup team.
He is currently five shots off Schauffele heading into tonight’s final round of the BMW Championship. But it is unlikely that the result will bear much influence on Furyk’s thinking, unless the youngster wins in Philadelphia.
World ranking: 20
Wins in 2018: 0
Missed cuts: 5
Results in majors: T50-T6-T2-T35
The PGA Tour Rookie of the Year may have finished three spots above Finau (15th) in the Ryder cup points table on the strength of his finishes at The Players (T2), the US Open (T6) and the Open Championship (T2), but his overall consistency this season has been below par in contrast to his compatriot.
The California native has less top-10s (two to four) and top-25s (four to five) finishes than Finau, has missed more cuts (five against three) and is higher in the world rankings (20 to 17) and FedEx Cup standings (41 to 4).
On paper, Finau would appear to be favourite for the final wildcard pick, but a case would have to be made for Schauffele’s inclusion if he was to go on to win the BMW Championship tonight.
Sharpe – who won a host of honours with the Red Devils in Sir Alex Ferguson’s early tenure at Old Trafford – will take part in a charity golf event during the day on Thursday, September 13, before being the guest speaker at a question and answer session in the evening.
The event is part of the DHL Swing Against Cancer Golf Series and is being organised by Worldwide Golf and Sixteen10.
The occasion is held to support and raise awareness of treatment for three-year-old Mohammad Sameer Abdullah’s treatment, who was recently diagnosed with leukemia.
Sharpe, who won three Premier League titles and two FA Cups with United, established his own foundation after retiring, the Lee Sharpe Foundation, so was all too happy to get involved this week.
“I’ve had my own foundation for the last 12 years so I try and do my bit,” said the 47-year-old.
“We raise funds for children’s cancers and charities, stillborn charities, anything kid-related, we make a donation every year.
“As a footballer, I think it’s important to get involved in charitable events and causes because we can. You have the opportunity as a footballer and the support of a lot of people.
“It’s a family run charity, run by family friends Colin and Tina Booth who do a great job. We generally raise between £15-20,000 on the night of our annual gala dinner.”
Emirates Golf Club’s Majlis course will kick-off proceedings on Thursday, with the golf getting under way at 13:30 in a shotgun start.
That will be followed by a barbecue and refreshments and then an ‘evening with Lee Sharpe’, a former player renowned as one of the best after dinner speakers on the circuit.
The event and evening dinner are now sold out but interested parties are encouraged to get in touch via e-mail in order to be added to the waiting list.
Sharpe has been holidaying in Dubai for a number of years and can’t wait to get out on the course at Emirates GC.
“A friend of a friend, Steve Kelshaw, is sponsoring the event. I know him and a friend of his, Simon Hurd, who’s a golfer. They asked me if I fancied coming over to help out Mohammed,” added Sharpe, who joined United from Torquay in 1988 and played for the Red Devils for eight years, before leaving for rivals Leeds United in 1996.
“I love Dubai, the place, I love golf and to raise awareness for a good cause is always a bonus.
“I’ve been coming tom Dubai for the last 20-25 years maybe. I’ve seen a lot of changes but throughout all of them I still think the Emirates (golf club) is my favourite along with the Creek.
“I love coming over here. I love the place, the people, the service, the weather, the golf, it’s all five star.”
Sharpe won the PFA Young Player of the Year award while at United following the 1990/91 season, having helped the club to win the European Cup Winners’ Cup that season.
Other sporting and non-sporting celebrities to have taken part in the ever-growing series are Teddy Sheringham, Mike Tindall, Michael Campbell, Didi Hammann, Gary McAllister, Harry Redknapp as well as former Westlife singer Brian McFadden.
Matt Le Tissier is already confirmed for the grand final of the series, which also doubles up as the Mike Clark Golf Day on Thursday, November 1, which is also being played in Dubai, at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Matt Wallace has spoken of his disappointment at missing out on wild-card selection for this month’s Ryder Cup.
The 28-year-old Englishman was tipped as a potential captain’s pick for Europe after winning his third European Tour title this year at the Made in Denmark tournament last week.
Wallace finished superbly with eight birdies in his final 11 holes in Aarhus but it was not enough to sway the thinking of watching European captain Thomas Bjorn for the match in Paris.
Wallace told Sky Sports: “Obviously I’m disappointed because that was my goal and my dream. I thought I showed enough on the Sunday in front of him to get a pick.
“But I fully back Team Europe now to go and give the Americans a good go. Hopefully I can be there supporting or helping them out.”
It has been suggested that Wallace could still be invited to the event in Paris as an observer by Bjorn but no decision has yet been taken.
Bjorn also overlooked the credentials of Thomas Pieters and Matthew Fitzpatrick – both of whom played at Hazeltine two years ago – as he opted for the experienced quartet of Paul Casey, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson and Ian Poulter.
Wallace, Pieters and Fitzpatrick were all in action together in the same group for the opening round of the Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre in Switzerland on Thursday.
“We were the rejects,” joked Pieters.
Asked if the Ryder Cup subject arose during their round, Pieters said: “No Ryder Cup chat – all just normal chat, whatever we talk about on the course.”