The Ryder Cup race, which began 37 tournaments and more than eleven months earlier, reaches a potentially dramatic climax at the BMW International Open at Golfclub Munchen Nord, Eichenried, Munich, this week.
As the chase for points reaches a conclusion, culminating in Europe’s captain Mark James announcement of his wild card selections on Sunday evening, it is still a case of ‘all to play for’.
The superb showing by Europe’s golfers in the 81st US PGA Championship at Medinah and Costantino Rocca’s wonderful performance at the West of Ireland Classic means that the ten qualifying places haven’t yet been finalised.
For some – like US PGA runner-up Sergio Garcia - the heat is off, but for a group of Ryder Cup hopefuls, the final qualifying event promises to be fraught with tension.
Rocca, who fended off the challenge of Padraig Harrington to win in Galway, resumes his rivalry with the Irishman in another search for some of the 11,900 points available this week.
Victory lifted him to 18th in the Ryder Cup qualifying table while Harrington’s second place moved him within sight of the promised land in 13th place. Both need to win to make the team on Sunday.
Bernhard Langer, chasing another win in his native Germany, faces a battle to maintain his impressive sequence of appearing in every Ryder Cup since 1981. He slipped to 14th after the US PGA.
Every player ranked between eighth and 14th in the table last week made the cut at Medinah, but the brilliance of teenager Garcia resulted in Jean Van de Velde moving to ninth, Robert Karlsson tenth and Andrew Coltart eleventh.
Ryder Cup skipper James is still in contention for a playing role in 15th place thanks to his superb closing 67 in Chicago which kept him in the hunt.
With 1983 points available to the winner of the BMW International Open, most of the players in the top 26 in the current standings still have a theoretical chance of qualifying, although, more realistically, the top 20 are the genuine contenders.
Karlsson has already won over the Munich course in 1997 while local favourite, Alex Cejka, is not out of the hunt.
European No.1 Colin Montgomerie returns to Germany after another high class showing in the US PGA Championship along with Open champion Paul Lawrie, who also performed creditably in his first American major.