Parnevik playing for his place

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The Independent Online


An expected birth, delayed by about a week, could result in an unexpected berth for Jesper Parnevik in Europe's Ryder Cup team against the United States in Rochester, New York next month.

Parnevik's wife, Mia, was due to deliver their first child this week but a convenient embargo means that he can play in the Volvo German Open in Stuttgart which begins tomorrow. It is the final qualifying event for the European team and Parnevik, currently 18th in the pecking order, has an outside chance of getting in on merit. He accepted a sponsor's invitation earlier this week.

The leading 10 players in the Cup reckoning on Sunday evening can be measured for their blazers and Bernard Gallacher, the captain, will choose the remaining two names on Monday. It is not just Mia Parnevik who has played a part in Jesper's appearance in Germany. Gallacher telephoned the Swede and asked him to play.

In the Ryder Cup standings, Parnevik is one place behind Nick Faldo, who is expected to receive a wild card from Gallacher. Both players joined the United States Tour this year. The good news is that they are Americanised, at least in terms of conditions, but the bad is that neither of them have won enough to gain automatic places for Rochester.

Parnevik's attraction to Gallacher is that he recently became the first Swede to win the Scandinavian Masters and last season was runner-up to Nick Price in the Open Championship at Turnberry. However, the word is that Parnevik would have to win in Stuttgart to be assured of a place.

Miguel Angel Jimenez, who chose not to play in the Czech Open last week, is in 11th place, Jose-Maria Olazabal in 12th and Ian Woosnam 13th. Olazabal, despite a foot injury, is still prospering in America but cannot make the team by qualifying. Last weekend he said he may not want to be considered as one of Gallacher's choices. Woosnam, Europe's leading player in the last Ryder Cup match at The Belfry two years ago, is playing in Germany and Gallacher must be keeping his fingers crossed that the Welshman is on the leaderboard on Sunday evening. If Woosnam makes the team on merit, Galacher's juggling act would be made a lot easier.

Faldo may be expecting an invitation to play in the Ryder Cup, but he has declined one to play in another team competition in October, turning his back on the England team for the Alfred Dunhill Cup at St Andrews. Instead his likely Ryder Cup colleagues, Mark James and Howard Clark, will be joined by Barry Lane.

Ireland will be repesented by Darren Clarke, Philip Walton and Ronan Rafferty, while Colin Montgomerie, Sam Torrance and Andrew Coltart will fly the flag for the hosts. Woosnam, Mark Mouland and Paul Affleck will represent Wales. The make-up of the remaining 12 teams will be announced early next month.