Can Scotland Match McGinley’s Ambition?
While the Ryder Cup may still be over eighteen months away, the golfing world has already started to prepare and excitement is commencing. The 2014 event is due to be held at Gleneagles and due to this, European captain Paul McGinley has already stated that he wants 25% of his team to be Scottish.
Such a percentage means that three members of the twelve man team would be from Scotland – with McGinley attempting to replicate the Ireland contingency from 2006, which saw three Irish team members play for Europe on their home soil.
However, such a percentage could also appear very optimistic, perhaps even unrealistic. At the moment, the highest placed Scotsman is all the way down in 33rd in the world rankings, while the next two are even further down the charts. Bearing this in mind, I’ll now take a look at the three highest ranking Scottish players and give my views on whether or not they have what it takes to feature at Gleneagles.
Out of all of the Scottish players in the modern game, Lawrie is probably the most well-known. He is one of the few recent major winners, having famously lifted the Open back in 1999. Since that win, it would be fair to say that Lawrie went off the radar somewhat and we didn’t really hear much about him for the next decade. However, over recent times he has made a comeback and even featured in the most recent Ryder Cup – although he only managed a return of one point from his three outings.
Even though Lawrie may have performed well individually over the past couple of years, there is certainly no guarantee he’ll hold on and make an appearance at the 2014 event. He’s started this season in poor fashion and while he may have made three out of four cuts, it’s hardly form that will propel him to the top of the Ryder Cup rankings. Bearing this in mind, there could be a chance that Lawrie loses grip on his world ranking and slips further down the Ryder Cup pecking order.
One man who appears to be heading in the right direction is Stephen Gallagher. Even though Gallagher may occupy 60th position in the world rankings, he has already won an event this term – after clinching the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. However, this happened to be his first win in 201 tournament attempts, meaning that there have been suggestions it has been a mere flash in the pan.
Gallagher hasn’t played since that victory but it will certainly be interesting to see how he fares in the future. Prior to that win he was outside the top 100 in the world, so the next eighteen months are absolutely critical for this man if he wants to secure his first Ryder Cup place.
Just several places down from Gallacher is Richie Ramsay. At 29-years-old, Ramsay is one of the younger Scottish players knocking around although the jury is still out on whether or not he has what it takes to break into the Ryder Cup squad. He’s played in four events through 2013 and while he did finish 9th in The Volvo Golf Champions, that has been his biggest success so far. Bearing this in mind, you just have to wonder if he is going to accumulate enough points to be registered as an automatic pick for McGinley’s squad. One thing in his favour is his appearance in the Walker Cup in 2005, while he is also one of the very few British men who have lifted the US Amateur trophy. Nevertheless, whether or not he’ll be able to up his game in the next few months remains to be seen.
As you can see, McGinley really will have his work cut out if he’s looking for three Scottish members. Admittedly, there is still plenty of time to go, but at the moment he may even struggle to think of a reason to select any of the above as a wildcard. On the subject of wildcard picks, when the time comes be sure to check out bonusbetting.org.uk for the latest betting offers on the Ryder Cup team selection.