Blog: Can Stephen Gallacher clinch a Ryder Cup place?

The Scoop

Decision time for Paul McGinley as European qualifying reaches an exciting climax

The automatic qualification process for the European Ryder Cup team is almost complete.

Eight of the nine places at Gleneagles have been claimed after Jamie Donaldson recorded an impressive win at the D+D Real Czech Masters.

The destiny of the final place is in the hands of 39-year-old Scot Stephen Gallacher.

A disappointing final round in the Czech Republic meant Gallacher had to settle for a share of seventh place.

It left Graeme McDowell in possession of the final qualifying spot but the 2010 US Open champion will not be lining up at this week’s Italian Open where Gallacher can overtake him with a 1st or second place finish.

If Gallacher can force his way in automatically, Paul McGinley will have the difficult task of picking three from McDowell, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald.

You could add Francesco Molinari, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Joost Luiten, Marc Warren or Gonzalo Fdez-Castano into the mix but it is unlikely either of those would get a pick ahead of “the big four”.

It will be very interesting to see what happens if Gallacher doesn’t get the Italian Job done. Will he get a captain’s pick?

He will surely come into the equation but has hardly been in sparkling form of late.

Before his seventh place last week he missed the cut at the Wyndham Championship, finished in a tie for 109th at the US PGA and was tied 47th at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

He has had opportunity to seal his place before now but hasn’t made the most of it.

For a rookie to get a captain’s pick, they surely need to be in top form? Like when Edoardo Molinari clinched a place in Colin Montgomerie’s 2010 team at the expense of Justin Rose among others.
Gallacher has the better recent competitive record at Gleneagles and with no other Scots in the side, he also has that to his advantage" A saving grace for Gallacher could be the lack of form shown by Westwood and Donald but both are proven Ryder Cup performers. It would be a huge shock if Poulter doesn’t get the nod.

Gallacher has the better recent competitive record at Gleneagles and with no other Scots in the side, he also has that to his advantage but I’m not sure how much of a factor that will be in McGinley’s decision-making process.

Either way, it is a tough decision for McGinley to make. A poor performance by Gallacher in Italy will make it easier – a finish anywhere between 10th and 3rd certainly won’t. 


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