European Ryder Cup update: Laird trending up


European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal will pull 10 automatic qualifiers from two separate points lists. The top 5 players on the European Points List after the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles will make the team (Click for U.S. Ryder Cup standings).

Top 5 after the Madeira Islands Open (points in parentheses):

1. Rory McIlroy (2,584,843.51)

2. Peter Hanson (1,633,004.93)

3. Martin Kaymer (1,587,688.41)

4. Justin Rose (1,483,613.23)

5. Paul Lawrie (1,387,723.60)

The list is unchanged from last week.

The next five players will be the highest five on the World Points List not already on the team. Currently, that handful of players would consist of the following in order of their position on the list (points in parentheses):

2. Luke Donald (252.10)

3. Lee Westwood (235.69)

6. Graeme McDowell (149.09)

8. Sergio Garcia (131.19)

10. Gonazlo Fernandez-Castano (108.12)

The list is unchanged from last week.

Olazabal will finalize his team by making two picks. Here are some players not currently inside the top five of either points list who deserve consideration:

Francesco Molinari: After winning the Spanish Open for his first European Tour title since 2010, the Italian missed the cut at Sawgrass by one shot.

Ian Poulter: Finally settled in his new Orlando home, Poulter opened well at The Players.

Thomas Bjorn: A three-time winner last season, Bjorn has not played since the Masters.

Martin Laird: The only player among the top five finishers at The Players to hail from outside the U.S., Laird deserves a look if his form continues.