European Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley now has nine of his 12 charges confirmed for The 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.
With Stephen Gallacher finishing third in the 71˚ OPEN D’ITALIA Presented by DAMIANI, the final tournament of the European Ryder Cup qualifying race, and missing out on automatic qualification by the narrowest of margins, McGinley now knows the make-up of three quarters of his European team with Graeme McDowell holding onto the last berth.
On Tuesday McGinley will complete the line-up bound for Gleneagles to take on the United States from September 26-28 when he names his three wilds cards from Wentworth, an announcement which will be streamed live on rydercup.com at 12.30 BST.
The nine automatic qualifiers include players from eight different European countries – Denmark, England, France, Germany, Northern Ireland, Spain, Sweden and Wales.
Heading the qualification list is World Number One Rory McIlroy having won The Open and US PGA, WGC – Bridgestone Invitational and BMW PGA Championship, the flagship event of The European Tour, during a campaign that yielded 15 top tens in total. McIlroy will be making his third Ryder Cup appearance.
Reigning European Number One Henrik Stenson, winner of the 2013 Race to Dubai and the US PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup, finished second and will also be playing in his third Ryder Cup.
Victor Dubuisson and Jamie Donaldson will be making their Ryder Cup debuts after impressive performances throughout the qualification period, Dubuisson winning in Turkey and then Donaldson sealing his place in the team with a dramatic win in the D+D Czech Open in the penultimate event of the Ryder Cup points race.
The experienced quintet of Thomas Björn, Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell and Justin Rose, who have played in 15 Ryder Cups between them, complete the automatic qualifiers.
Speaking from the 71˚ OPEN D’ITALIA Presented by DAMIANI, European Captain Paul McGinley said: “It was a terrific performance from Stevie today. The gun was to his head and he performed very strongly and all credit to him but it is unfortunate he has come up that one shot short of being an automatic pick in the end.
“His performance this week will be very strongly in his favour when it comes to deciding on the picks, but there are a lot of stats to be looked at, other players to look at and there’s still golf going on in America which will be influential in making the picks. I’ll sit down tomorrow with the two vice captains, Sam and Des, and assess everything and hopefully come up with three picks that are going to add to what is already an incredibly strong group of players.”
Elaborating on the nine automatic qualifiers, he said: “It’s a very strong nine. I am delighted with that and look at the quality of players who have not made the team as well. It is a who’s who of European golf.
“All credit for the ways the guys are playing. It’s phenomenal the standard of golf the last 12 months of qualifying to make the team – the hardest team to qualify for statistically of all time.
“I am very excited. As a European fan you have to be excited with that team. It is a wonderful team to go into battle against a very strong US team and I am under no illusions whatsoever how difficult a task this will be.
“Tuesday is another milestone. There are different milestones along the way and now we come to the conclusion. We know who nine of the players are now and the most the difficult part my job is going to come in the next 24 hours.”
After McGinley announces his wild cards on Tuesday, US Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson will follow suit at midnight BST (7pm ET) by naming his three remaining players to join Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Jimmy Walker, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reid and Zach Johnson in the US Ryder Cup team.