It’s not over ‘til it’s over. Well, it’s finally over in terms of who automatically qualified for the European Ryder Cup team, and it took the full 72 holes of the BMW PGA Championship to settle matters.
These are the nine players who qualified for European captain Padraig Harrington’s squad, via the European points list (based on Race to Dubai points earned in European Tour co-sanctioned events) and the World points list (based on the Official World Golf Ranking).
European Points List
- Jon Rahm
- Tommy Fleetwood
- Tyrrell Hatton
- Bernd Wiesberger
World Points List
- Rory McIlroy
- Viktor Hovland
- Paul Casey
- Matthew Fitzpatrick
- Lee Westwood
Notable players on the outside include Shane Lowry, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter. Garcia (DNP) and Poulter (MC) have been almost assured of one of Harrington’s three captain’s picks.
Knowing that, Lowry, Rose, Wiesberger and Westwood were playing for both an automatic spot as well as consideration for that final selection.
Wiesberger only managed an even-par 72 on Sunday at Wentworth, but his tie for 20th was enough to move him in. Rose needed to win to get in and finished birdie-eagle, but it wasn’t enough. He shot 65 and tied for sixth.
"Today, I never, never let off and I just had to take deep breaths for every shot and I guess that's what it means to be able to play for a Ryder Cup team," said Wiesberger, who will make his cup debut. "I mean, I don't think I have to mention, it's been a lifelong goal for me to be part of a European team and I'm very proud to have just done enough to get into that team and go to Whistling Straits in a couple weeks."
The ultimate battle was between Lowry and Westwood, with Westwood completing his final round as Lowry was starting his. Westwood faltered to a 77, meaning Lowry needed no worse than a solo eighth-place finish to clip him.
It was not to be for the Irishman. After a couple of early birdies, Lowry bogeyed the 14th and doubled the 15th to drop to 10 under par and into tie for 24th. He closed in 71 and tied for 17th.
"Disappointing to not be in the team automatically, but I'm obviously hoping that they will pick me," Lowry said. "I don't normally talk myself up but I think I've played the golf good enough and I think I deserve to be on that cup, but that's up to them."
Only five of the nine automatic spots were solidified prior to the start of this week's flagship event on the European Tour, but Fitzpatrick and Hatton were pretty secure. Westwood was in good shape as well, before playing poorly and getting a scare from Lowry. This will mark the Englishman's 11th Ryder Cup appearance, tying him with Nick Faldo for the most on Team Europe.
Harrington will make his three captain's picks Sunday evening to round out his team (click here for update), which will defend the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, Sept. 24-26, following a year's delay because of the COVID-19 pandemic.