Martin Kaymer’s strong performance at the PGA Championship has catapulted Germany’s double major winner into the mix for Europe’s Ryder Cup team to play the US next month.
Given that rookies are currently occupying five of the nine automatic team berths with four weeks remaining before qualification is decided after the Made In Denmark tournament, European captain Darren Clarke will be cheered by Kaymer’s tie for seventh at Baltusrol on Sunday.
Kaymer, now 12th in both the European and World points tables, has been on the winning side on all three of his Ryder Cup appearances and sank the winning putt at Medinah in 2012.
His coming into form gives Clarke a solid wildcard option for one of his three captain’s picks should he not make the team for Hazeltine in Minnesota automatically.
While the only movement in those nine qualifying places saw Justin Rose leapfrog Rafa Cabrera Bello into fifth, England’s Tyrrell Hatton was another big mover in the standings thanks to his tie for 10th at Baltusrol, moving him onto the bubble alongside Kaymer, Soren Kjeldsen, and Lee Westwood just outside the top nine, only 35 points behind Matt Fitzpatrick on the European points list and occupying the final spot of the nine automatic places.
US captain Davis Love III will have been relieved to even up the majors tally for the year at two apiece following Jimmy Walker’s one-shot triumph over Jason Day on Sunday. Golf’s newest major champion was catapulted from 29 in the American team standings last week to fourth thanks to the double points on offer at the PGA.
There are four tournaments remaining, including the first FedEx Cup play-off event, the Barclays, before the automatic eight qualifiers are determined on August 29 with Love given another two weeks before he makes three of his four captain’s picks to complete the team ahead of the first tee shot on September 30.
Walker made his Ryder Cup debut two years ago at Gleneagles, beating Lee Westwood in his singles match for his only full point. He could well be joined in Hazeltine by rookie Brooks Koepka, who had fallen from third to ninth in the qualifying rankings after an ankle injury left him sidelined for a month but he bounced back with a tie for fourth at Baltusrol. That finish sent Koepka back up to fifth of the eight automatic qualification places.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved