Surprise names and a USA victory – NCG predicts the 2018 Ryder Cup

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The qualification process for the 2018 Ryder Cup is underway, so we thought it would be fun to get some early predictions in...

The qualification process to make Europe’s Ryder Cup team begins at this week’s Czech Masters.

And while we’re all looking forward to the ongoing joke for the first few weeks about how Adrian Otaegui is going to spearhead Europe’s attack in Paris, there is a serious competition to be played at the end of it. And European captain will be desperate to get the Samuel Ryder Trophy back from the Americans.

So here’s what the NCG team think will happen in the qualification process and at Le Golf National…

Dan Murphy, editor

Turkish

Surprise qualifier or captain’s pick: Not sure how much of a surprise this would really be but Bernd Wiesberger is improving by the year and looks to me like a man who could emerge as an acknowledged world-class performer.

Surprise player to miss out: We have heard very little from Martin Kaymer this year and a lot of Europeans have gone past him on the world rankings.

Making their debut: Other than Jon Rahm, I strongly believe that Shane Lowry is the real deal and he would be a revelation in the Ryder Cup. He’s one of those players the crowd relate to and there would be plenty of emotion. I also think that Thorbjorn Olesen has a bit of a swagger about him and could thrive in this event.

Long shot to make the team: It adds a certain something when a home player makes the team so why not Alexander Levy, as the highest-ranked Frenchman. Then again, it didn’t exactly work out as planned for Stephen Gallacher at Gleneagles in 2014. I would love to see Danny Willett turn his game around next season. It’s saying something when you rate the previous season’s Masters champion as a long-shot for a Ryder Cup two-and-a-half years later but for a variety of reasons he has been wretched this season.

The team I would like to see: Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Jon Rahm, Paul Casey, Francesco Molinari, Thomas Pieters, Bernd Wiesberger, Shane Lowry, Matt Fitzpatrick and Danny Willett.

The team I expect to see: Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Jon Rahm, Paul Casey, Thomas Pieters, Alex Noren, Tommy Fleetwood, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Ian Poulter and Thorbjorn Olesen.

Europe’s top points scorer: Sergio Garcia very rarely lets us down at the Ryder Cup and is sure to be on the team and to play a prominent role.

Ryder Cup winners: USA.

Alex Perry, digital editor

2018 Open Championship

Surprise qualifier or captain’s pick: Surely Thomas Bjorn isn’t going to emulate his predecessor Darren Clarke and pick his old pal Lee Westwood? He is, isn’t he? And how about a nice slice of Beef? That would fun now, wouldn’t it?

Surprise player to miss out: Based on this year, I can’t see Martin Kaymer getting anywhere near the team. But then he was handed a pick by Clarke, too. Justin Rose needs to sort it out, as well, but he’ll make it.

Making their debut: Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood and Alex Noren. And Thorbjorn Olesen must be a shoo-in with his Danish connection. I fancy Olesen to make a similar impact on the Ryder Cup that Thomas Pieters made last year.

Long shot to make the team: Jordan Smith needs to keep doing what he’s doing, but what a story that would be.

The team I would like to see: Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, me, my dad, my friend James, Mark Townsend, Eric Cantona, Ricky Gervais, Liam Gallagher, Ant & Dec, and Ian Poulter.

The team I expect to see: Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Jon Rahm, Alex Noren, Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood, Paul Casey, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Thomas Pieters, Thorbjorn Olesen, and Lee Westwood.

Europe’s top points scorer: Despite what I just said, a few short months after completing his Grand Slam at Augusta, Rory McIlroy will spearhead Europe to victory against a much-fancied young American side.

Ryder Cup winners: USA.

Mark Townsend, deputy editor

Surprise qualifier or captain’s pick: Graeme McDowell.

Surprise player to miss out: Martin Kaymer, Andy Sullivan, Chris Wood, Matt Fitzpatrick, and – I can’t believe I’m writing this – Tommy Fleetwood.

Making their debut: Russell Knox, Alex Noren and Jon Rahm, obviously.

Long shot to make the team: Bernd Wiesberger.

The team I would like to see: Robert Rock, Eddie Pepperell, James Heath, Tommy Fleetwood, Matthew Southgate, James Morrison, Nicolas Colsaerts, Matteo Manassero, Padraig Harrington, Stuart Manley, Alejandro Canizares and Florian Fritsch.

The team I expect to see: Justin Rose, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Graeme McDowell, Russell Knox, Alex Noren, Jon Rahm, Sergio Garcia, Paul Casey, Rafa Cabrera Bello and Thomas Pieters.

Europe’s top points scorer: Rory McIlroy.

Ryder Cup winners: USA.

James Savage, equipment editor

July in pictures

Surprise qualifier or captain’s pick: Alexander Levy.

Surprise player to miss out: Martin Kaymer, Danny Willett, Andy Sullivan and Chris Wood.

Making their debut: Jon Rahm, Alex Noren, Tommy Fleetwood, and Alexander Levy.

Long shot to make the team: Jordan Smith.

The team I would like to see: Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Jon Rahm, Alex Noren, Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Fitzpatrick, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Thomas Pieters, Alex Levy and Francesco Molinari.

The team I expect to see: Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Jon Rahm, Alex Noren, Tommy Fleetwood, Paul Casey, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Thomas Pieters, Ian Poulter and Matt Fitzpatrick.

Europe’s top points scorer: Henrik Stenson.

Ryder Cup winners: USA.

Steve Carroll, club golf editor

Padraig Harrington

Surprise qualifier or captain’s pick: Bernd Wiesberger is a four-time European Tour winner has the capacity to string a lot of good results together.

Surprise player to miss out: Medinah seems like forever ago for Martin Kaymer.

Making their debut: Tommy Fleetwood, Jon Rahm, Alex Noren and Tyrrell Hatton.

Long shot to make the team: Padraig Harrington is a future captain and has still got game.

The team I would like to see: Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, Alex Noren, Chris Wood, Henrik Stenson, Tommy Fleetwood, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Francesco Molinari, Thomas Pieters and Thorbjorn Olesen.

The team I expect to see: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Fitzpatrick, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Alex Noren, Justin Rose, Paul Casey, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Thomas Pieters and Tyrrell Hatton.

Europe’s top points scorer: Jon Rahm looks very handy in match play.

Ryder Cup winners: USA.

Joe Urquhart, social media editor

Poulter 718 TMB

Surprise qualifier or captain’s pick: Local lad Alex Levy will be desperate to make the team. I’m going to back him to do it…

Surprise player to miss out: A first missed Ryder Cup for Lee Westwood since his debut in 1997. He’s not getting a pick this time, surely?

Making their debut: Jon Rahm, Alex Noren and Alex Levy.

Long shot to make the team: Is Ian Poulter a long shot? He’s playing well.

The team I would like to see: Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Jon Rahm, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Paul Casey and Alex Noren – then four picks of Tommy Fleetwood, Alex Levy, Ian Poulter and Thomas Pieters.

The team I expect to see: Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Jon Rahm, Paul Casey, Thomas Pieters and Francesco Molinari – then four picks of Martin Kaymer, Bernd Wiesberger, Russell Knox and Lee Westwood. I changed my mind on Westwood.

Europe’s top points scorer: Rory McIlroy, of course.

Ryder Cup winners: Europe.

Here’s the breakdown of the Europe team, as voted for by the NCG team:

6 votes: Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Jon Rahm, Paul Casey, Thomas Pieters
5 vote: Alex Noren, Rafa Cabrera Bello
4 votes: Tommy Fleetwood
2 votes: Ian Poulter, Thorbjorn Olesen, Lee Westwood, Russell Knox, Matt Fitzpatrick
1 vote: Graeme McDowell, Tyrrell Hatton, Bernd Wiesberger, Martin Kaymer, Francesco Molinari

So there you have it – McIlroy, Garcia, Stenson, Rose, Rahm, Casey and Pieters will all make the team. But then you knew that anyway, didn’t you?

But it doesn’t matter, because we all seem pretty confident the American young guns are going to retain their title in Paris.

So who makes your team for Le Golf National? And who do you think will win the Ryder Cup? Let us know in the comments below, or you can tweet us @NCGmagazine.

Now read: Why Bjorn and Europe should fear the US Ryder Cup team

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