Graeme McDowell may not have walked away with the claret jug Sunday, but he did accomplish something else: The Northern Irishman virtually assured himself of a spot in the upcoming Ryder Cup, moving from fifth to second on the European Points List after his T-5 at Royal Lytham.
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 here to view U.S. standings.)
The top 5 after the Open Championship (points in parentheses):
Rory McIlroy (2,635,952.52)
Graeme McDowell (2,197,505.29)
Justin Rose (2,062,615.50)
Paul Lawrie (2,033,778.14)
Francesco Molinari (2,001,002.18)
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 (349.76)
3. Lee Westwood (280.27)
8. Peter Hanson (173.57)
9. Martin Kaymer (168.99)
10. Sergio Garcia (155.58)
Olazabal will finalize his team by making two picks. Here are a few players not currently inside the top five on either points list but who deserve consideration:
Nicolas Colsaerts: Bookend 65s at the Open show the potential of this long-hitting Belgian.
Ian Poulter: Always gets psyched for the Ryder Cup, and the Englishman’s T-9 at Royal Lytham was his second top 10 in a major this year (7th, Masters).
Padraig Harrington: Red-hot the past few months, the Irishman was a disappointing T-39 at the Open.
Thomas Bjorn: Up-and-down season for the Dane, and likely needs another high finish soon to pique interest.