Golf: Gallacher seeking warriors for a crusade: Ryder Cup: Europe's captain faces the one about the Scotsman, the Welshman and the Spaniard. Tim Glover reports on the battle for The Belfry

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EUROPEAN STANDINGS

1 B Lane (Eng) 326,217.75

2 C Montgomerie (Scot) 306,410.79

3 N Faldo (Eng) 291,202.50

4 B Langer (Ger) 281,411.48

5 M James (Eng) 257,334.08

6 J Spence (Eng) 210,577.65 x

7 D Gilford (Eng) 208,476.57

8 J M Olazabal (Spain) 194,616.71

9 G Brand Jnr (Scot) 191,411.93

10 S Richardson (Eng) 187,028.41

11 J Haeggman (Swe) 186,756.76

12 P Broadhurst (Eng) 181,645.95

13 C Rocca (Italy) 178,275.25

14 S Lyle (Scot) 173,859.01

15 M A Jimenez (Spain) 172,995.32

16 J Payne (Eng) 167,230.01

17 M Roe (Eng) 165,970.41

18 S Torrance (Scot) 156,525.95

19 A Forsbrand (Swe) 130,031.04

20 I Woosnam (Wal) 128,548.54 x

21 R Karlsson (Swe) 125,604.04

22 R Rafferty (N Irl) 124,980.16

23 D Feherty (N Irl) 123,509.00

24 D Clarke (N Irl) 108,409.56

25 R Chapman (Eng) 104,351.40

26 M Lanner (Swe) 101,532.48

27 J Rivero (Spain) 96,818.83

28 J van de Velde (Fr) 89,988.25

29 P Mitchell (Eng) 87,273.78

30 S Ballesteros (Spain) 80,270.41

Points are based on Volvo Order of Merit events from 1 Sept 1992 to 31 August 1993. The top nine gain automatic selection with the remaining three places selected by Bernard Gallacher, the European captain.

UNITED STATES STANDINGS

1 Fred Couples 965.500

2 Tom Kite 950.000

3 Paul Azinger 687.167

4 John Cook 672.500

5 Davis Love III 635.000

6 Payne Stewart 508.393

7 Mark O'Meara 506.250

8 Lee Janzen 498.810

9 Corey Pavin 472.500

10 Chip Beck 454.167.

11 Jeff Maggert 431.250

12 Rocco Mediate 428.929

13 Keith Clearwater 419.166

14 Jim Gallagher Jr. 417.500

15 Larry Mize 405.239

16 Dan Forsman 382.583

17 David Edwards 380.000

18 Tom Lehman 379.286

19 Jeff Sluman 370.833

20 Brad Faxon 353.333.

21 Joey Sindelar 344.643

22 Raymond Floyd 327.500

23 John Huston 317,500

24 Steve Pate 317.321

25 Nolan Henke 314.643.

26 Jay Haas 305.262

27 Duffy Waldorf 293.334

28 John Daly 290.000

29 Ben Crenshaw 270.834

30= Gene Sauers 255.000

Donnie Hammond 255.000

Points are compiled from 12 Jan until the 1993 PGA Championship at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. The top 10 gain automatic selection with the remaining three places selected by Tom Watson, the US captain.

SOME members of the gallery had words of encouragement for Tony Jacklin during his first-round mini- renaissance in the Dunhill British Masters at Woburn. Some went over the top. 'Are you seeking a wild- card?' they asked, referring to the three choices that Bernard Gallacher, Jacklin's successor as Europe's Ryder Cup captain, has in the team of 12.

There again, perhaps they were impatiently indicating a symptom: that as the team slowly begins to take shape Europe is in need of a hero, even if he is 48 and faded. It is too early to suggest that Gallacher is losing sleep over it but nor can he be dreaming when he looks at the Ryder Cup standings and the current form of the players, Bernhard Langer excepted, who are expected to be the backbone of his team. If Europe were to play the United States at The Belfry next week instead of September they would be in some trouble.

To begin with Gallacher has three big problems: Seve Ballesteros, Ian Woosnam and Sandy Lyle. All three have had success in a competition that attracts more jingoism and flag- flying than the War of Independence. At Kiawah Island last time, when the Americans won 141 2 -131 2 , they called it the War on the Shore. The Poet Laureate is going to have to come up with something for The Belfry.

So, too, is Ballesteros who, along with Jacklin, has been the inspiration behind Europe's monopoly-breaking victories in the 1980s which turned a damp squib into a fireworks display. Ballesteros is 30th in the Ryder Cup table. In nine events on the European Tour this season he has missed five cuts. His game has been even dodgier than his back. Ballesteros said a few months ago that if, when it came to selection deadline, he had not qualified on merit he would not want to be one of Gallacher's wild-cards. He said he would cram himself into Europe in an attempt to win points but so far he has done neither and recently he modified his idealistic stance. 'The Ryder Cup is match-play,' he said. 'Winning holes is very different from strokeplay. Anything can happen.'

Going into the Ryder Cup without Ballesteros would be like going to India without David Gower. Ballesteros has got to do something soon or Gallacher is going to start counting sheep. Woosnam and Lyle are in a similar, but not the same, situation. The Welshman and the Scotsman give the impression, unlike almost every other serious contender on the Tour, of not regarding the Ryder Cup as a crusade.

Woosnam, who is 20th in the table, said: 'If I'm not playing well I'll decline. There's too much pressure.' Moving to a pounds 2m house in Jersey applies its own kind of pressure and Woosnam rarely plays unless he is paid appearance money. He has played four out of 18 tournaments this season and is not playing here because Dunhill preferred to spend their 'slush fund' on Nick Faldo, Langer and Jose-Maria Olazabal.

Lyle's truancy is even worse. The lesser-spotted Sandy has played three times in Europe and after two missed cuts and 65th place in the PGA Championship last week is lying 193rd in the Order of Merit with pounds 1,750 although he will win a few bob after his round at Woburn yesterday. In the Ryder Cup reckoning he is 14th with pounds 173,859. How come? Our lot decided to extend the qualification process so that instead of taking it from the Order of Merit from January to the cut- off point in August, they count from September 1992. The idea was to avoid a scramble at the end but that could happen anyway. When Lyle won the Volvo Masters in November he shot to sixth in the Cup table. Apart from moving house from Wentworth to the outskirts of Edinburgh he has done almost nothing since. 'If I'm not playing well I won't be in the Ryder Cup. It's not a priority.'

How will he know if he's playing well when he hardly plays at all? Gallacher is unperturbed. 'It's looking superb,' he said. 'How many points did Woosnam contribute last time? And Sandy didn't play.' And Europe lost. 'I'm just glad,' Gallacher said,'that I'm not Graham Taylor.'

The extension of the number of events which count toward the dreaded R factor means poor old Barry Lane has been heading the class for nine months. He has been chipping away this year, winning just over pounds 100,000 but his Cup total is 326,217 which shows what a strong finish he had last season when most players could not find the R factor in the alphabet. Lane, who has been to the qualifying school on seven occasions, need only to avoid falling into a rabbit hole to make his debut in the Ryder Cup.

Lane is followed by Colin Montgomerie, who at Wentworth last week finished joint second, behind Langer, and sounded almost suicidal. 'I've stopped believing in myself,' Big Monty said. 'I'm stuck. There's always somebody better than me. I'm stuck in second and third . . . it's getting to me.' Monty is followed by Faldo and now even Europe's answer to Superman seems to have a lump of Kryptonite in his Footjoys. He missed the cut at Wentworth, his home course, and went fishing for an answer. Mark James, who finished with an 80 at Wentworth, is another near certainty as is Olazabal. David Gilford should be in on merit and if he is not he should be picked. Sam Torrance and Jim Payne might also feature in the shake-up but there is a doubt about Jamie Spence who has missed four events through ill health.

We could get a Swede, Joakim Haeggman, an Italian, Costantino Rocca or an Irishman. 'The Ryder Cup is uppermost in my mind,' said David Feherty, who is 23rd in the pecking order and who came off Kiawah Island with his reputation enhanced. Referring to the fact that the early-season events carried far less money than the remaining schedule, Feherty said: 'You only have to play well once and you're right back in there.' Nor has Christy O'Connor Jnr, a Belfry hero in 1989, given up the chase. 'I would like to see more experience in the team,' the 44-year-old Jnr said. 'It's a hard cross to bear for a youngster especially in the foursomes.'

There have been 18 events this season and, counting the Dunhill, another 13 to go, with prize-money of around pounds 7.5m, before the team is announced after the German Open at the end of August. The Americans play it differently. Ten of their team qualify on points compiled from January 1992 to the US PGA Championship in mid-August and the other two are chosen by their captain Tom Watson. Fred Couples, Tom Kite, Paul Azinger and John Cook have already won enough to qualify. Against that lot Europe needs Seve and Gallacher might be tempted to play him even if the Spaniard has to go round The Belfry with a walking stick.

(Photograph omitted)

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