Final Drive to Make Euro Team at BMW


European TourMUNICH, Germany -- Sergio Garcia can afford to look relaxed at the BMW International Open. The Spaniard is one of six players to have sealed berths on the 12-man European Ryder Cup team that faces the United States at Oakland Hills in Michigan on Sept. 17-19.
Four spots plus two captain's picks are still at stake.
'It's going to be a nerve-racking week for some of the guys,' Garcia said. 'Whoever still has a chance is going to be plenty nervous.'
Paul McGinley was on the European squad that beat the Americans two years ago at the Belfrey in England. This weekend's event will be the Irishman's 10th straight tournament without a break, all in an attempt to pile up points.
'My destiny is in my hand,' he said. 'I win the tournament, I'm on the team.'
Actually, McGinley and the three others who lead the race on the European list don't even need to get within shouting distance of the leaderboard. Ian Poulter, David Howell and Paul Casey just have to make the cut, and even then challengers like Joakim Haeggman and Fredrik Jacobson would need at least seventh-place finishes to overtake them.
Still, strange things happen under Ryder Cup pressure.
'You can see players on the list who suddenly hit the Ryder Cup wall and stop making points - that's because they're thinking Ryder Cup, not about winning this week,' said Lee Westwood, the BMW Open's defending champion.
Westwood and Garcia have qualified through the world points list, compiled from the worldwide play of European players. Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke and Miguel Angel Jimenez round out the slots. All five have Ryder Cup experience.
France's Thomas Levet is the first to make the squad through the European list, which reflects prize money earned on the continent. Ten other players are competing for the four spots left.
The Ryder Cup has overshadowed the BMW Open itself despite a strong field led by the European team members, John Daly and two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen. No one is much talking about the thicker rough and tougher greens, which organizers hope will invigorate a flat course and prevent scores like the 27-under-par 261 Daly had in winning in 2001.
In the running for the captain's picks by Bernhard Langer are Scotland's Colin Montgomerie, Germany's Alex Cejka, England's Luke Donald and Sweden's Jacobson.
'My personal feeling is that, yeah, Monty is kind of like a step forward from some of the other guys, but I'm not the one choosing,' Garcia said.
Langer and Montgomerie were playing partners when the Europeans won in 2002. The Scotsman swept 4 1/2 of 5 points, part of his 16-7-5 mark that's helped five winning teams.
'There's no doubt that he's been a fantastic player for a very, very long time and very inspirational to the rest of the team,' Langer said.
But Montgomerie was 70th at the PGA Championship and 58th at last week's NEC Invitational, and Langer says the Scotsman needs to show his game is back.
Related Links:
  • Ryder Cup Points List
  • Full Coverage - BMW International Open
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