There's a nice pre-Italian Open interview here with European Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley who is not shying away from the options he faces in selecting three players to round out his team for Gleneagles.
This European Tour unbylined story focuses on the one player who still has a chance to make the team on points: Stephen Gallacher. Easily the sentimental choice because of his Scottish heritage, efforts to make the team and overall genuine nature, Gallacher has to win or finish second to make the team on points.
“This is the last lap of qualifying for The Ryder Cup and from the World Points angle this tournament could make a contribution,” said the Irishman who is at Circolo Golf Torino this week to also compete himself after a number of weeks on the sidelines nursing a shoulder injury. All eyes will be on Stephen Gallacher, the Scot needing to finish in the top two to force his way past Graeme McDowell into the final qualifying place, but the likes of Joost Luiten and Francesco Molinari will be among those hoping to impress McGinley in this final week as he weighs up his wild card options.
Alistair Tait files an excellent piece weighing the easy way out for McGinley--pick stars Poulter, Donald, Westwood--or the more European Tour friendly choice in Gallacher, who has made a gallant effort to get on the team and has shown loyalty to the home tour.
What some commentators might not be taking into consideration is McGinley’s European Tour loyalty. He’s an establishment figure, serving on the European Tour’s tournament committee for many years. He will feel honor-bound to choose a player like Gallacher who’s fully committed to the European Tour.
The case for Gallacher also includes the new blood argument in a year when Europe appears so strong on paper that putting Gallacher on the team doesn't seem a stretch, especially as he's shown plenty of game.
And for what it's worth, Jason Sobel reported the strange remarks of Lee Westwood from last week, who said he'd next see the golf world at the Ryder Cup even though he's well outside the points cut off on either European list.
“Off until the Ryder Cup,” he said. “After that, I don’t know.”
Westwood currently isn’t qualified for one of the nine automatic spots on the European team through the world points list or the European Tour list. Which means that if he’s not playing again between now and then, he’ll need to rely on captain Paul McGinley as being one of three wild-card selections.
For Americans, Italian Open coverage begins on Golf Channel at 5:30 am. ET Thursday from Turin.
McGinley announces his picks Tuesday at 7 am ET. Morning Drive will have the coverage.