If one team was a man down heading into the Ryder Cup singles, which player from the other side would you choose to sit out? NCG has bravely attempted to answer this question
When Sam Torrance bruised his foot at the 1993 Ryder Cup, Lanny Wadkins volunteered his name for the envelope and sat out the Sunday singles.
This was the third time the envelope rule was ever used in Ryder Cup history where one player sits out due to an injury to the opposition.
The rule was established in 1979 when the format changed to the one we see today: four foursomes matches and four fourball matches, followed by 12 singles matches.
When the captains submit their singles lineups, they also submit one name in an envelope of the player they’d leave out if a player from other team withdrew.
This match would be halved. In 2021, the captains were asked to submit a second name due to Covid-19 protocols. Fortunately, the envelope rule wasn’t needed.
The idea of players sustaining an injury before or during the Ryder Cup seems unfathomable.
NCG has decided to play the brutal game and choose the player they’d put in the envelope from each side at the 2023 Ryder Cup.
Europe – Robert MacIntyre
My choice was narrowed down to rookies, players who haven’t been in the Ryder Cup cauldron yet.
Sepp Straka is a multiple PGA Tour winner, so I couldn’t sideline him. Ludvig Aberg is a superstar and full of confidence, so he is playing in the Singles.
Nicolai Hojgaard has three top 10s in his last four starts, including good finishes at the Genesis Scottish Open and The Open Championship.
Of course, MacIntyre almost won at the Renaissance Club, but I can’t help feeling this performance is solely responsible for his climb to the automatic spaces, as opposed to a larger body of work.
I suppose the question is: Who is Europe’s weakest player? And I suppose MacIntyre would be my answer despite being a massive fan of the young Scotsman.
He limped over the line to avoid Captain’s pick territory at the Omega European Masters, and he has a lot to find both statistically and in general form if he’s to contribute to Europe wrestling the gold trophy back.
I’d reluctantly write his name down in my envelope, but if we return to reality, I’m rooting for Bob at Marco Simone.
USA – Rickie Fowler
If I was USA captain Zach Johnson, writes Matt Coles, and I had to select an American to be pulled out of the singles, it would be a tricky decision.
All 12 members of the American team are strong and have their own qualities. For me, it would be Rickie Fowler.
Fowler’s Ryder Cup record is miserable, with just 5.5 points from a possible 15 in his previous four appearances. He also only has one victory from his four singles matches, with that win coming against Justin Rose at Hazeltine in 2016.
He was thrashed at Gleneagles on Sunday, with Rory McIlroy winning 5&4, while Sergio Garcia also beat Fowler in Paris by a 2&1 scoreline.
His other singles match was his very first, back in 2010. He halved with Edoardo Molinari at Celtic Manor.
When you look at the statistics, especially through Fowler’s Ryder Cup history, it’s a no-brainer really. The other men that may have come into consideration were Justin Thomas, Brian Harman, Wyndham Clark and Sam Burns.
There has been plenty of talk around Justin Thomas and his recent form. However, his match play record is superb and now he’s been chosen, he plays on Sunday without a doubt.
Brian Harman has been a quarter-finalist at the WGC Match Play and also proved he knows how to get the job done on European soil earlier this year at The Open Championship.
Wyndham Clark was the man on the chopping block, but he’s had a fantastic season. He won the Wells Fargo Championship before then taking a maiden major title with a win at the US Open.
Who would be in your Ryder Cup envelope? Tell us on X!
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