The Puzzles Final Pieces


As we approach Sundays conclusion of the European Ryder Cup points race and the announcement of Sam Torrances wild card picks, the picture is certainly much more focused than that of the U.S. team two weeks ago. Fewer players have a chance to earn a place on the team and Torrances picks seem to be much more predictable than American captain Curtis Stranges options.
The top eight European spots are set. They are, in order of Ryder Cup points with world rankings in parentheses:
1. Darren Clarke (8)
2. Thomas Bjorn (14)
3. Padraig Harrington (15)
4. Colin Montgomerie (11)
5. Pierre Fulke (41)
6. Lee Westwood (13)
7. Niclas Fasth (47)
8. Paul McGinley (45)

No. 9 Bernhard Langer (25) can be knocked out if No. 10 Phillip Price (58) finishes second, and No. 11 Ian Poulter (79) or No.12 Miguel Angel Jimenez (34) wins and Langer finishes no better than 45th. Prices position is a bit more tenuous. 13 players have a chance to dislodge him with a win. Six players can pass him with a solo second place finish. Both scenarios assume Price misses the cut.
If Langer qualifies on points the wild card selections would most likely be Sergio Garcia (7) and Jesper Parnevik (21). Other viable options are Jimenez, Ian Woosnam (69) or Jos Maria Olazabal (63). Woosnam isnt in the field this week, so that may irk Torrance. Jimenez has Ryder Cup experience, but not as much as Olazabal. Parnevik and Garcia won for 3 out of 4 points when teamed together in 1999, so to choose a player other than those two would leave Torrance open to serious second guessing.
For Jimenez to qualify he would need to finish fourth or better this week. Olazabal and Garcia each need a win to reach the top 10. If Garcia wins, and stays in the top 10, then Torrance would have some flexibility with his pick.
With the influx of European players competing on the PGA Tour for money which doesnt count towards Ryder Cup points, the selection process needs to be overhauled. If the European team used World Rankings to choose the team Fasth, McGinley and Price would be replaced with Garcia, Jimenez and Parnevik. That would leave captains picks available for Olazabal and Woosnam. Id call that an upgrade.
Who do you think will be the two European Captain's Picks?
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