Nicolas Colsaerts fishing for a place in Jose Maria Olazabal's Ryder Cup team

Belgian hopes he has done enough to beat Harrington to one of captain's picks today

Gleneagles

A quiet lake in the foothills of the Scottish Highlands usually plays host to keen fly fishermen happily winding down; but the rod of one angler today on the stretch of water just outside Auchterarder will not be just twitching after taking a bite from a rainbow trout. Much as Nicolas Colsaerts may try to escape the madding crowd, his mind will be awaiting news from the Gleneagles Hotel a few miles away.

There, at noon today, Jose Maria Olazabal will finally unveil the identity of the two golfers who will be his wild card picks to complete the 12-man European Ryder Cup team to take on the Americans at Medinah in Chicago next month. And the Belgian Colsaerts is very much in the frame.

Although uncapped, he is officially ranked the longest driver of a golfball on both the European and US Tours.Furthermore his record this year of nine top-nine finishes in tournaments, including winning the prestigious World Matchplay title in Spain in May, matches that of one other player on the two tours – the current world No 1 and recent runaway USPGA winner Rory McIlroy.

Despite those impressive statistics, the 29-year-old Colsaerts cannot be certain that Olazabal will favour him. England's Ian Poulter is favourite for a pick, having finished only just outside the top 10 in the table that will provide 10 automatic team members.

Apart from having contributed massively to Europe's Ryder Cup victories at Oakland Hills in 2004 and Celtic Manor two years ago, Poulter has also won both the high-profile Accenture and Volvo Matchplay titles in America and Europe over the past two years.

Colsaerts's rival for the other pick is the Irish triple major winner Padraig Harrington, who has not missed a Ryder Cup since making his debut at Brookline in 1999. Harrington has not won in Europe or America since taking the 2008 USPGA title at Oakland Hills, but after switching coaches to Yorkshireman Peter Cowen last year the 40-year-old Dubliner has shown signs of arresting that slump, finishing fourth at this year's US Open.

As Olazabal sat down last night to finalise his plans, it will have seemed a straight battle between youth and experience. But the Spaniard does have history with Harrington, not having forgotten that in the 2003 Seve Trophy the Irishman questioned his integrity over the repair of a pitch mark.

The deliberation could have been avoided had Colsaerts managed to claim a top two spot in the Johnnie Walker Championship, which finished at Gleneagles last night. The world ranking points would have taken him into the last automatic team place at the expense of Martin Kaymer.

While the German raised eyebrows by spending such a key weekend resting up at his home in Arizona instead of travelling to Scotland to try to protect his place, Colsaerts was at least willing to play his eighth tournament in nine weeks. But the constant flying between Europe and the States caught up with him as he could only shoot a level par final round 72 yesterday to finish 10 shots behind Scots winner Paul Lawrie.

And Colsaerts was certain that fatigue played a big part in his failure to cross the finishing line. "Mentally I am just pretty tired," he said. " I have only taken one week off in the last nine because I have wanted to play the Ryder Cup badly. And I am looking forward to going fishing.

"I would like to think I am still in a good position to get a wild card because nobody has really made a big enough statement to get in front of me. I would like to think I have put as much pressure on Jose Maria as I could have. I think I have done everything to show that I am capable of delivering."

Colsaerts has a fair point. Harrington could have nudged past him had he won the Barclays Fedex Cup play-off on the US Tour, which finished at Bethpage last night. And the Irishman did lay early foundations, shooting an eight under par 64 over New York's tough course to take the first round lead on Thursday. But he followed that with two 75s, following a four-year pattern of being unable to string four good rounds together in a tournament.

But if Olazabal was going to have a thoughtful final 24 hours sorting out his picks, one performance in Scotland will have delighted him. The Gleneagles winner Lawrie, who has not played in the Ryder Cup for 13 years, has rediscovered the form that saw him win the 1999 Open at Carnoustie and looks ready to shine at Medinah.

"I am now playing the best golf of my career," said Lawrie last night, a declaration backed up by his best return in a season since joining the European Tour full-time in 1992.

He also became the first Scotsman in Tour history to have won on three different courses in his homeland, following his Carnoustie Open win and the Dunhill Links Trophy at St Andrews in 2001.

Ten so far: Ryde Cup team

Paul Lawrie, 43 years old, Scotland Ryder Cups: 1

Rory McIlroy, 23, N Ireland R Cups: 1

Justin Rose, 32, England R Cups: 1

Graeme McDowell, 33, N Ireland R Cups: 2

Francesco Molinari, 29, Italy R Cups: 1

Luke Donald, 34, England R Cups: 3

Lee Westwood, 39, England Ryder Cups: 7

Peter Hanson, 34, Sweden R Cups:1

Sergio Garcia, 32, Spain R Cups: 6

Martin Kaymer, 27, Germany Ryder Cups: 1

PLUS TWO CAPTAIN'S PICKS

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Singer songwriter Bob Dylan performs on stage
films
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital