Team Europe’s automatic spots confirmed

A strong top 5 finish in the Czech Masters for young Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick confirmed his place in Europe’s Ryder Cup side at the weekend.

He is 1 of 5 rookies now confirmed to be on the plane to Minnesota to face the USA at the end of September. Next Tuesday (August 30) Darren Clarke announces his captain’s picks with many thinking he will opt for experience to support the relative youth of those already confirmed. In the running are the likes of Lee Westwood, who could make his tenth Ryder Cup appearance if selected; Martin Kaymer, who has shown signs of a return to form in recent weeks and Shane Lowry, now a full time member of the PGA Tour having won big at the World Golf Championship in Ohio last year. Captain Clarke may also have his eyes on big hitting Belgian Thomas Pieters and Russell Knox, now a proven winner on American soil.

The end of this week sees the top 8 Americans in the standings confirmed, before captain Davis Love III makes 3 wildcard picks on September 11, before his final pick on September 25. This marks a pronounced change to the usual selection process and acts as an incentive to those outside of the automatic spots to perform well in the season-ending FedExCup series.

As it stands team USA are slight favourites with the bookies. We’ll see if they’ve got it right in just over a month from now.

The 41st staging of the Ryder Cup gets underway at Hazeltine National Golf Club from Friday September 30.

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