GLENEAGLES, Scotland – Francesco Molinari of Italy has been guaranteed a place in Europe’s Ryder Cup team following Ross McGowan’s withdrawal from the Johnnie Walker Championship because of an injury.
McGowan pulled out of the Gleneagles event on Thursday after shooting a 5-over par 77 that put him near last place during the first round. The Englishman, who was struggling with a pinched nerve in his shoulder, needed to finish first or second at the Johnnie Walker Championship to have any chance of making Europe’s Ryder Cup team.
Molinari, seventh on the selection points standings, is one of the nine automatic European qualifiers. The Turin player, who shot a 68, will become the first Italian since Costantino Rocca in 1995 to compete in a Ryder Cup.
“It is not the best way of making the team, so I am sorry for Ross,” Molinari said. “But I am very relieved as it feels good to know that I am now in the team.”
McGowan had arrived at Gleneagles – the final European Ryder Cup qualifying event – 12th in the standings, three places outside automatic selection. After a round that included eight bogeys, McGowan said it was time to rest.
“I’m pretty gutted, as I’m not one who likes to pull out of events, but we’ve pretty much tried everything other than injections,” McGowan said. “Hopefully, there will be other opportunities to play in the Ryder Cup.”