Europe Captain Bjorn Hopes Tiger Plays In Ryder Cup

Silvia Morton
August 11, 2018

"Sergio won't be happy with where he's been over the last few months", Bjorn said as torrential rain tumbled down at Bellerive two days before the start of the PGA Championship.

Ryder Cup stalwarts Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia all now lie outside of the standings, with 2016 members Matt Fitzpatrick, Rafa Cabrera Bello and Thomas Pieters also yet to qualify. Bjorn is a skilful operator when it comes to defusing hard issues, but he knows this week's tournament is pivotal to the qualification process for both sides.

But the Spaniard's form has been hugely disappointing in recent months - the 2017 Masters victor has missed the cut in six of his last ten tournament starts. Kevin Kisner is the only player among the top 20 in the USA standings who played with Furyk, at the RBC Heritage.

Only the top four on each list gain automatic qualification.

Woods, who missed all of last season while rivals scored points, has jumped to 20th on the Cup qualifying list with only the PGA remaining before the top eight players qualify. And you look at the guys that we're calling rookies even on both sides; you look at (Tyrrell) Hatton, (Tommy) Fleetwood, (Jon) Rahm, (Alex) Noren, and those are four of their hottest players.

But the Dane is also aware that Garcia is not performing to his expected level. "As I said last week, I'm trending". "But we also know that Sergio is the type of player who can turn it around in a week or two and then all of a sudden he goes on a great run of form".

'I have three or four weeks before I have to make those picks.

"We're looking at 51,000 fans coming to these events each day".

Of course, the US PGA Championship is a standalone major in its own right and carries its own resonance.

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"If Tiger was included in the U.S. team for the Ryder Cup, it would be great for the game of golf because he just brings something special.

Garcia has played on eight European teams dating to his first appearance as a 19-year-old in 1999.

The top four players already have clinched a spot to play Europe in Paris - Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed.

Tiger Woods is at No. 20, roughly $130,000 in PGA Championship earnings from the No. 8 spot.

There is no doubt both captains will be watching very closely the progress of their likely team members as they take on the Bellerive Country Club.

But he refused to directly answer the question when asked whether the 14-time major victor, who is now 20th on the points list, had already done enough.

The St Louis course was battered by those early Tuesday thunderstorms, leaving ideal conditions for someone like McIlroy to prosper.

He downplayed any knowledge gained from playing in the French Open in June at Le Golf National, where the Ryder Cup will see holders United States try to win in Europe for the first time since 1993.

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