Harrington and Poulter out to impress

8/23/2012 8:34:40 AM
Ian Poulter   (Getty Images)
Ian Poulter (Getty Images)

The race to qualify automatically for Europe’s Ryder Cup team may be over for those players competing in America but The Barclays this week gives Padraig Harrington and Ian Poulter one final chance to impress José María Olazábal as he considers his wild cards.

Only World Ranking Points from the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles will count towards the World Points List for Ryder Cup Qualification, with Nicolas Colsaerts the only player within striking distance of forcing his way into the team, but with European Captain Olazábal not announcing his wild cards until noon on Monday in Scotland, a stirring performance by those Europeans playing in the first of the FedEx Cup series in New York could still affect Olazábal’s thinking.

Harrington and Poulter are the two Olazábal will have a close eye on and there is also significant European interest among those who are already in the team as the battle for world supremacy intensifies.

The strength of the field, which gives the event a rating of 746 with 74 points first place – the second highest for a non-benchmarked event – could well have a significant bearing on the top order of the World Ranking.

US PGA Champion Rory McIlroy currently holds pole position ahead of Luke Donald, but the Englishman could overtake his Ryder Cup teammate with a top two finish at Bethpage State Park Black. Donald would return to World Number One with a win if McIlroy is third or lower, and could go back to the summit with a solo second place if McIlroy is 52nd or lower.

The World Number One position is also within reach of Tiger Woods, winner of the US Open over the same course in 2002, with a win if McIlroy is sixth or lower.

The gap between third and fourth is too big to breach for Lee Westwood but Justin Rose could move up to fourth if he was to win his second FedEx Cup event after capturing the BMW Championship last year.

The draw has added intrigue with the mouthwatering group featuring McIlroy and Woods paired together for the first two days.

One hundred players will advance from this week's field to play the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston, and 70 from there will go forward to the BMW Championship.

The top 30 from the Crooked Stick Golf Club in Indiana then move forward to Atlanta for the Tour Championship finale and a shot at the US$10 million prize.