Carl Pettersson became a contender for the European Ryder Cup team when he won the RBC Heritage last week.
The Swede, however, is not a member of the European Tour which precludes him from making captain Jose Maria Olazabal's team on either of the points lists. Likely needing a captain's pick to make the squad, Pettersson must continue his form to get the nod.
'He's going to have to play extremely well to get that pick,' Graeme McDowell said Friday on 'Morning Drive.' 'I know there are going to be four or five guys who deserve to be on that team that will not get on there by merit.
'It's going to be one of the most highly contested Ryder Cup teams I've ever been involved in. I know I'm going to have to play hard to get on the team and Carl Pettersson's going to have to play even harder.'
McDowell compared Pettersson to Paul Casey and Justin Rose, a pair of top-10 players who were left off of the 2010 team.
'When I think about (Carl), I think about Justin Rose not making our 2010 team. He was having a stellar year on the PGA Tour – won twice,' he said.
The Ulsterman conceded some flaws in the system, including using the Ryder Cup as bait to bring European players to their home tour.
'Guys make a choice to come play here on the PGA Tour, and that's their choice. We've got to protect our European Tour and attract guys to come back and play,' he said. 'No system is perfect. We can't pick the perfect 12 guys.'
Ultimately, McDowell is confident Olazabal will use his pair of selections wisely.
'Jose Maria Olazabal is a smart guy,' he said. 'He's going to pick the best guy a) on that golf course and b) in that team room.'