With Peter Hanson’s dramatic triumph at the KLM Open in The Netherlands and Rory McIlroy’s latest romp to victory on the US PGA Tour, members of José María Olazábal’s Ryder Cup team last week made it six wins in five weeks as a European surge of momentum continued to build towards Medinah.
In a purple patch that dates back to McIlroy’s historic success at the US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island in the second week of August – where the Northern Irishman lapped the field with a stunning performance to claim his second Major Championship in South Carolina – there has since been further glory for team-mates Sergio Garcia, Paul Lawrie, and now Sweden’s Hanson in what has been a morale-boosting few weeks for Olazábal’s side.
Spain’s Garcia effectively secured his automatic qualification and a sixth Ryder Cup appearance with victory at the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship the week following the US PGA, while rejuvenated Scot Paul Lawrie was imperious in claiming his second title of the season at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.
Only 17 days now remain until the first tee shots are struck at Medinah Country Club in the outskirts of Chicago, Illinois, with McIlroy’s back-to-back victories in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup play-off series at the Deutsche Bank and last week’s BMW Championship meaning the 23 year old has captured three wins in four starts in America, while there have also been a host of other promising performances across the board from members of Team Europe.
McIlroy’s recent dominance continued in the form of a serene two shot triumph over Lee Westwood, who also looked in fine form en route to a tied second finish with US Ryder Cup star Phil Mickelson, with fellow Europeans Ian Poulter (tied 12th), Justin Rose (tied 16th), Garcia (tied 24th), Luke Donald (tied 28th) and Graeme McDowell (tied 34th) all also showing on the Pete Dye-designed Crooked Stick that their games are on the right track for the showdown in Chicago.
Back in Europe, as Hanson holed a 35ft eagle at the last to spectacularly take the spoils at Hilversumsche Golf Club, the other European Ryder Cup team members in attendance in the Netherlands also fared well.
Nicolas Colsaerts finished tied eighth to claim a ninth top ten finish of the season while there were also encouraging signs of a revival in form for Germany’s Martin Kaymer, who after opening with an excellent 65 ultimately finished in a tie for 21st.
Colsaerts and Kaymer will be joined by fellow continental Francesco Molinari at this week’s BMW Italian Open, as preparations continue and The 39th Ryder Cup draws another week closer.