Ian Poulter plays himself into Ryder Cup reckoning
The Ryder Cup battle lines are being drawn. The qualification period for the United States is over. Europe's closes in a fortnight at the Johnny Walker Championship at Gleneagles. Ian Poulter's timely assault of the PGA leader board propelled him into the 10th automatic qualification spot.
Even if Nicolas Colsaerts or Sergio Garcia were to oust him next week, Poulter's showing at Kiawah Island and his Ryder Cup resumé would make it difficult for Jose-Maria Olazabal to overlook him as one of his two captain's picks.
The American captain, Davis Love III, has four picks at his disposal. Eight have already qualified: Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson. Expect Dustin Johnson, Hunter Mahan, Rickie Fowler and Steve Stricker to join them.
Olazabal will have to weigh the competing claims of Colsaerts, Garcia and the resurgent Padraig Harrington, not to mention Thomas Bjorn. Olazabal is doubtless buoyed not only by Rory McIlroy's US PGA victory but by a leader board packed with European muscle.
McIlroy headed a British and Irish top three: David Lynn was second, with Justin Rose and Poulter tied third. Peter Hanson was tied seventh alongside Welshman Jamie Donaldson. A late rush into Ryder Cup form has probably come too late for Lynn and Donaldson, though.
Ryder Cup rankings: Teams as it stands
(plus two captain's picks)
(plus four captain's picks)
Latest in Sport
Manchester United teased by Monaco after claims they could have signed 'Luis Suarez of Neymar' instead or £58m Anthony Martial
Former Manchester United star Karel Poborsky goes full hipster
Manchester United hit back at Real Madrid by claiming they let David De Gea 'slip through their fingers into the back of the net'
Premier League Power Rankings: Eden Hazard and Harry Kane continue to slip but Wayne Rooney has to perform against rivals
Serie B introduces 'green cards' to promote good behaviour, fair play and sportsmanship
- 1 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 2 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 3 Bob Geldof offers to take four refugee families into his home 'immediately' as he condemns humanitarian crisis as a ‘f**king disgrace'
- 4 Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
- 5 Bryan Cranston speaks candidly about wealth
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be