GLENEAGLES, Scotland (AFP) –
Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts is determined to gain an automatic place on Jose Maria Olazabal’s European Ryder Cup team at this week’s final qualifying event, the Johnnie Walker Championship.
Colsaerts is lying 12th on the points table and if he should finish first or second at Gleneagles he would break into the top-10 and into Olazabal’s team.
That would then see Germany’s Martin Kaymer, who is lying 10th, drop to 11th and if so, Olazabal would be left with a seemingly easy choice of picking two former Ryder Cup players in Kaymer and England’s Ian Poulter as his ‘wildcard’ picks.
However if Colsaerts does not automatically qualify Olazabal then faces firstly the easy choice of Poulter as one pick but then the very difficult task of choosing between Colsaerts or Ireland’s triple Major winning, Padraig Harrington, who is 19th on the points table.
But while Colsaerts looks to boost his hopes of being the only rookie in the European Team, Scotland’s Paul Lawrie can finally breathe a huge sigh of relief knowing his place is guaranteed.
The now 43-year old Scot was confirmed on Tuesday today in Olazabal’s team, 13 years after his only Ryder Cup appearance in 1999 as the then (British) Open Champion at Brookline in the USA.
Lawrie will now be the oldest member on either the European or USA sides competing next month at Medinah in Chicago.
His place has been assured following Sergio Garcia’s victory in the rain-delayed Wyndham Championship which meant Lawrie, lying fourth on the points table, cannot be knocked out of the 10 automatic qualifiers following the close of competition this Sunday.
“It’s great news I am in the team and nice now it’s done,” said Lawrie.
“It’s been in the back of my mind and the front of my mind for quite awhile as you can imagine.
“It’s been hard also to get away from such a big tournament. I had a lovely spell at the start of the year winning in Qatar and then made the semi-final of the World Match-Play and was second at the BMW PGA.
“So I’ve put myself in there, and we’ve been a quarantee to make the team for a long, long time but mentally you can’t see it that way.
“You have to keep going and keep trying to grind out results like I was doing.
“So chuffed to be in the team. It’s been a long time. It’s been 13 years since I last played, so can’t wait.”
Lawrie is among three members of the European team currently in the top-10 competing this week in Scotland along with Colsaerts, England’s David Lynn and Spain’s Rafael Cabrera-Bello, who are lying 13th and 14th respecitvely in the qualifying table.