POULTER AND MONTY LOSE GROUND
Ian Poulter and Colin Montgomerie are losing ground in the race for Ryder Cup places.
It is only a month ago that Padraig Harrington said he wanted Colin Montgomerie as his Ryder Cup partner again – and that he thought it was “inevitable” Ian Poulter would play his way onto the team.
Entering the final week of the year-long race for places, however, Poulter is still battling for a spot and Montgomerie is at the mercy of captain Nick Faldo, with things not looking good for him.
Poulter, runner-up to Harrington at the Open, has had to return to Europe for the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.
Anything worse than a top-five finish on Sunday and his chances of automatic selection are gone. But he might need to do much better than that if the players he is chasing – Oliver Wilson in 10th, Soren Hansen in ninth and Justin Rose in eighth – play well themselves.
A failure on the points list would leave Poulter hoping for a wild card like Montgomerie, but Faldo has only two to hand out and Darren Clarke and Paul Casey are the pair showing much better form of late.
Harrington said of Poulter’s challenge to him at Royal Birkdale: “He’s shown he is a big-time player and that’s the type you want in the Ryder Cup.”
Since then, though, Poulter has had finishes of 16th in the Bridgestone World Championship, 31st at the US PGA and missed the cut in the first of the FedEx Cup play-off series last week.
Casey, seventh at the Open, was eighth in the Bridgestone, 15th in the PGA and in the last two US Tour events has come 26th and seventh.
Clarke, meanwhile, was sixth in the Bridgestone and was a superb four-stroke winner of the KLM Open in Holland on Sunday.
As for Montgomerie, since his runner-up finish in the French Open at the end of June he has gone 24th, missed cut, 58th, 77th and missed cut – and in the last two of those he was right down near the rear of the field.
Yet Faldo knows perfectly well what the 45-year-old Scot has produced in eight Ryder Cups starting with his debut in 1991.
Harrington commented the day after his Open triumph: “I hope to tee up with Monty. He’s a different man when it comes to the Ryder Cup and everyone wants to play with him in the foursomes and the fourballs.
“He’s an obvious person to have leading the way. He comes up with his best golf when he’s out first, whereas I’m one of those who play the same whether you send me out first, seventh or 12th.
“I can see myself taking over Monty’s role at some point, but I’m only just getting out of the situation of feeling like a kid on the team.”
Montgomerie – never beaten in singles and only two points away from taking over from Faldo as the event’s record points-scorer – has one last chance to swing the decision his way.
If he is in contention at Gleneagles would Faldo go for him? And if Poulter fails to gain a top 10 spot does he warrant a wild card? Only Faldo knows the answers.
Like Poulter, Rose wanted to be playing in America this week, but with his place still not secure he will be in Scotland trying to fight off the opposition.
Three have to go past him and there are six dangers – Hansen, Wilson, Martin Kaymer, Poulter, Ross Fisher and Nick Dougherty.
England’s Charley Hull triumphs in Texas to end six-year wait for LPGA title
The victory was the 26-year-old’s first on the LPGA Tour since prevailing at the CME Group Tour Championship in November 2016.
Ryan Fox remembers Shane Warne after St Andrews success
The New Zealander secured his third DP World Tour title in front of his family with a one-shot victory at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Romain Langasque equals course record to lead Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
The Frenchman recovered from an early bogey with two eagles and eight birdies to reach 11 under par.
Rory McIlroy bemoans ‘ugly year’ and seeks solution to divide in golf world
The arrival of Saudi-backed LIV Golf series has fractured the game in 2022.
On this day in 2014 – Europe retain Ryder Cup with Gleneagles victory
The Gleneagles victory was Europe’s eighth win in 10 matches.
‘Is this where I am going to die?’ Nicolas Colsaerts on kidney disorder battle
The Belgian is the focus of attention this week as he belatedly defends the Cazoo Open de France title he won three years ago.
On this day in 2008: Ryder Cup misery in Louisville for Nick Faldo’s Europe team
Faldo was heavily criticised for his tactics in the closing singles.
Open champion Cameron Smith wins first LIV trophy in just second start
The world number two is the highest-ranked player to join the rebel series.
Robert MacIntyre beats Matt Fitzpatrick in play-off to win Italian Open
MacIntyre birdied the first extra hole at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, the venue for next year’s Ryder Cup.
Matt Fitzpatrick holds narrow lead ahead of final round at Italian Open
Rory McIlroy and Aaron Rai are one shot off the pace.