Miguel Angel Jimenez has now captured two of the biggest titles on the European Tour this season. After beating Lee Westwood in a playoff in Dubai, Jimenez overcame Alejandro Canizares and Francesco Molinari in extra holes Sunday at the Open de France. Jimenez is now almost guaranteed to be part of Colin Montgomerie’s side at Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, with eight events remaining before the teams are finalized. The Ryder Cup was certainly on the minds of many in Paris last week. When the tournament returns to Le Golf National next year we will know whether it is going to be a future Ryder Cup venue. The French are pushing hard for the 2018 matches and from what we saw on Sunday, the layout is perfect for match play. The 15th hole could provide incredible drama in a head-to-head format and 18 will certainly test the best players from both sides of the Atlantic. We’ll find out where the Cup will go for 2018 in the early part of next year. Right now, France would have my vote.
U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell has a busy week in preparation for a second major win, he tees it up in the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor on Monday and Tuesday then heads to Loch Lomond for the Barclays Scottish Open beginning on Thursday. McDowell is part of a star-studded field at the exclusive pro-am in Ireland, hosted by the Irish businessman JP McManus. Among the talented professional line-up is Tiger Woods. Woods is said to be close friends with McManus. Remember Tiger married Elin Nordegren at the Sandy Lane resort in Barbados which is part-owned by the Irishman.
At age 49, Gary Wolstenholme is celebrating his first professional victory. Wolstenholme, who turned pro last year, captured victory last week in the Stoke By Nayland event on the EuroPro Tour, a British satellite circuit. The Englishman who has represented GB&I five times in the Walker Cup and captured two British Amateur crowns said after his win, “it was important to me to prove to myself and other people that I am still a good player….the day I can’t compete is the day I hang up my clubs. My intention is to keep competing for another 15 years.” He will now focus his time on preparing for the European Senior Tour Qualifying Tournament later this year. Wolstenholme’s win moved him to third on the EuroPro Tour Order of Merit. The top five at season’s end will earn status on the European Challenge Tour for 2011.
Last week the Evian Masters announced the first five of its 10 sponsor’s invitees for the 2010 playing of the tournament, which will be held July 22-25 in Evian-les-Bains, France. On the list was teenage sensation Alexis Thompson who turned pro in June following the Curtis Cup. Strangely absent though was French No. 1, Gwladys Nocera. The 35-year-old has not yet qualified for the tournament but is a former LET No. 1 having topped the money list in 2008. Nocera is sponsored by both Lacoste and Societe Generale, two of the main sponsors at Evian. It would be extremely surprising for the 10 time LET winner to not receive one of the five remaining invites.