Predicting Europe's Ryder Cup rookies in 2020October 15, 2018 The Scoop
Who will make their debut for Team Europe at Whistling Straits in two years? Mark Townsend weighs up the options
6. Sam Horsfield
Born in Manchester but sounds more Kevin Costner than Kevin Webster. Much has been expected of Horsfield after Ian Poulter said of the 14-year-old that he “was the best young player I’ve ever played with”.
There was the Walker Cup mishap when he withdrew two weeks before Lytham after some visa complications before, having turned pro in May 2017, he won Q School by a ridiculous eight shots.
This year he has given it everything. The British Masters was his 26th start and he is 52nd on the Race to Dubai which is something else with the Q School category.
Still aged 22 so still plenty of time for Poulter’s words to come good.
7. Paul Dunne
Was on that 2015 Walker Cup team having performed all that magic at The Open two months previously. It’s still worth a reminder what Dunne did at St Andrews – he won the qualifying at Woburn and then, after three days, was part of a three-way tie for the lead with Jason Day and Louis Oosthuizen. One shot back, and attempting the third leg of the Grand Slam, was Jordan Spieth. Things didn’t work out but it should be remembered that he still reached the turn in level after some early wobbles.
Then there was that 61 at Close House 12 months ago. Has got a brilliant short game and a very different physique to the one he turned pro with.
8. Alex Levy
I did start writing about the US Amateur champ Viktor Hovland and then realised that he probably wouldn’t have joined the paid ranks until after Portrush and I don’t really know what his college plans are. So let’s go with France’s Alex Levy.
Thomas Bjorn wanted a Frenchman on his team in Paris and Levy was the one we all looked to. He won in Morocco in April and then everything stopped moving forward. Another still in his 20s and, with the home pressures off, we might be seeing this five-time winner out at Whistling Straits.
9. Marcus Kinhult
Everyone seems to like the Swede’s game having come through the Challenge Tour last year. Previously we remembered him from leading in Sweden while still an amateur three years ago.
A stellar debut season on the main tour, there was a third in Qatar, some struggles and then a third-round lead at Le Golf National with Chris Wood, Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm in his slipstream.
He’s not the longest – he’s down in 152nd spot with an average of a mere 295 yards – but he can putt.
Was part of the 2014 Junior Ryder Cup team.
10. Lucas Bjerregaard
The golden ticket of The Masters will be on the Dane’s radar having enjoyed a golden spell in recent weeks – 9th at Walton Heath, the win at the Dunhill, runner-up at Crans and top 10s in Denmark and the Czech Republic.
The way he won at St Andrews and its surrounds was outstanding, controlling his ball in the gusts and his swing is incredible. Stats wise he does his good work by hitting an awful lot of greens.
Has taken longer to get properly going but now hitting his straps.