Pressure Mounts for Euros and Faldo
Members of the media are supposed to be neutral when it comes to who wins and who loses. Our job is to call it like we see it.
But Nick Faldo, Europe's Ryder Cup captain who will be sitting in the CBS tower behind the 18th green this week, will surely be pulling for the stars from across the pond.
Ten of Faldo's Ryder Cup players will be chosen automatically. The five highest-ranked players on the World Ryder Cup Points list (which is based on world ranking) make the team, along with the five highest-ranked players on the European Ryder Cup Points list (which is based on European Tour earnings) not already on the team.
On the eve of the PGA Championship, here are the players Faldo would automatically have on his roster:1 Lee Westwood2 Padraig Harrington3 Henrik Stenson4 Miguel Angel Jimenez5 Robert Karlsson6 Graeme McDowell7 Oliver Wilson8 Søren Hansen9 Martin Kaymer10 Justin Rose
Faldo gets two captain's picks, but he surely never imagined that he'd need to use one to get Sergio Garcia (the sixth-ranked player in the world) on the squad. Garcia is currently sixth on the World Points list. Ian Poulter, who was the runner-up at this year's British Open, is seventh.
After finishing tied for sixth at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last week, Darren Clarke (10-7-3 in five Ryder Cups) moved up 10 spots on the European Points list to No. 23. Paul Casey (3-1-2 in two Ryder Cups) went from No. 19 to No. 15 after finishing tied for eighth in Akron, but both he and Clarke need strong showings if they want to play at Valhalla in September.
In May, Faldo said that Colin Montgomerie needed a strong finish this season to make the team. "It all depends where he is in that last six weeks," he said. "That is going to be real key for me."
Montgomerie finished tied for 58th at Royal Birkdale and is No. 16 on the European Points list, but Monty could still play his way onto his ninth Ryder Cup team with a strong showing at Oakland Hills.
No European-born player has won the PGA Championship since Tommy Armour defeated Gene Sarazen in 1930. It would be a dream come true for any European player who won, and for Faldo, sitting behind the 18th green, it could make some tough decisions a whole lot easier. (Photo by Gary Bogdon/SI)