The Case for Pettersson


Carl Pettersen, a self-described Swedish Redneck ' isnt that an oxymoron? ' who played his collegiate golf at North Carolina State, is suddenly somebody Nick Faldo might want to consider for his European Ryder Cup team that will take on the Americans next month in Kentucky.
Consider this for starters: Nobody currently inside Faldos top 10 on the Ryder Cup points lists ' not even Padraig Harrington or Sergio Garcia ' has won more official PGA TOUR events since Petterssons breakthrough win at Tampa in late 2005.
Add to that Petterssons impressive Sunday victory at the Wyndham Championship in North Carolina that, by the way, vaulted Pettersson to No. 13 on the points list for the FedExCup which kicks off its lucrative Playoffs Thursday in New Jersey.
At the very least, Pettersson can make a compelling case for himself. He was born in Sweden and still carries a Swedish passport. His father worked for Volvo Trucks which meant the family lived five years in England while Pettersson was growing up. Then the Petterssons moved to North Carolina where Carl attended high school before starring on the golf team at North Carolina State.
Hey, Nick. Looking for a hot player?
Pettersson fired a 29 on the front side at Sedgefield Thursday and backed that up with a 30 on the same nine Friday en route to a second round 61 which tied for the low round of the year on the PGA TOUR.
Wyndham was Petterssons third PGA TOUR victory. And moments after holding off runner-up Scott McCarron, Pettersson had this to say about the two captains picks Faldo will have to make in two weeks:
Nick, if youre watching, Im a size 36 waist and an extra large shirt. Thank you.
The irony here is that Pettersson is just the kind of player American captain Paul Azinger is looking for: A proven winner; a player who has won in 2008; and a hot player.
Faldo would prefer Pettersson to make the team on points rather than having to burn a captains choice on him. One more win for Pettersson could push him into the top 5 on the Euro world points list where he currently ranks 13th. Pettersson will not make the squad on its Euro points list where he currently ranks 106th because of his infrequent appearances on that side of the pond.
I know Im Swedish but I really do feel American to be honest with you, Pettersson added. But my heritage is European and I would love to play on Nicks team and I know all the European guys on the team.
I used to play the European Tour. I might be a little bit different. But Im going to be playing hard for Europe if I make the team.
Faldo could be put off by Petterssons sometimes balky putter which doesnt dovetail with the historic importance of loading up with good putters in Ryder Cup play. But the Euros might be well served by having a player happy to be considered a redneck by the time they get to Kentucky where the crowd support is expected to be not dissimilar to that you will find at an SEC football game.
Finally, Faldo is nothing if not independent. And picking Pettersson for his team is just the sort of contrarian move he might make, critics be damned.
Or as GOLF CHANNELs Peter Oosterhuis, a former Ryder Cup teammate of Faldo, said on the Sprint Post-Game show Sunday night, Nicks the kind of guy who might do something out of left field.
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