Saturday, 25 August 2012
Nicolas Colsaerts   (Getty Images)
Nicolas Colsaerts (Getty Images)

Since the very first match in 1927 there has never been a Ryder Cup side - European or American - without a single uncapped player in it.
That could change this year, but only if Nicolas Colsaerts fails to finish in the top two in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles tomorrow and José María Olazabal then springs a surprise.
So far Olazábal knows nine of his 12 players for Chicago next month and they have all made at least one appearance.
They are, in world ranking order, Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell, Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Peter Hanson and Paul Lawrie.
Martin Kaymer, like six of the above part of the team that won at The Celtic Manor Resort two years ago, will join them if Colsaerts - joint seventh at halfway in Scotland - does not grab the last automatic spot off him.
By adding Ian Poulter, odds-on favourite for the first of two wild-cards, that would be 11 of the 12 with cup experience – and while Poulter is by no means a certainty, the question looks to surround the Captain's second pick.
On Thursday Olazábal said Padraig Harrington, 19th in the points list, needed “at least a win” if he was to come into the reckoning for a wild card and the Dubliner's 75 in America last night - 11 more than his opening round at The Barclays - perhaps dealt a fatal blow to his chances.
Thomas Björn, 16th on the list, has already been named as an assistant captain although a successful defence of his Johnnie Walker Championship title – he lies joint 20th and five off the lead at the halfway stage - will undoubtedly put him under consideration.

Colsaerts, who needs a win or joint second with two other players to qualify automatically, heads into the weekend in joint seventh place on five under par, three behind leaders Richard Finch and Mark Foster.
He is undoubtedly in Olazábal’s thoughts and comments from the captain along the lines of "we have plenty of experience" and "obviously it's a long-hitter's course", will have perhaps strengthened his case for inclusion.

But there are other players on the radar such as David Lynn and Rafael Cabrera Bello, who would leapfrog both Colsaerts and Poulter in the points list if they were to win on Sunday night. Indeed until the withdrawal of Peter Hanson from the Johnnie Walker Championship both could have earned an automatic spot with a victory but would now fall just short and would need a Captain’s pick.

They still have a chance to impress and are well placed to mount a weekend challenge, with Cabrera Bello joint ninth at four under par after a 68, and Lynn one stroke further back just five off the lead after a round of 70, and their Ryder Cup dream could still be alive.

“I’m going to keep an eye on a few things, a few players obviously,” said Olazábal after missing the cut at Gleneagles. “Yeah, it’s going to be interesting to see what happens at the weekend.”


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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1LAWRIE, PaulSCO18-16
2RUMFORD, BrettAUS18-12
T3LAFEBER, MaartenNED18-11
T3WATTEL, RomainFRA18-11
T6MOLINARI, FrancescoITA18-10

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