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OPINION: Why experience could be the decider at this year’s Ryder Cup

We promised you the second instalment of our analysis on the 2021 Ryder Cup teams, and having covered the USA last week, it’s now time for Europe.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, this year’s European Captain is Padraig Harrington. 

The 3-time major winner has represented Europe no less than 6 times in the Ryder Cup, so it’s fair to say he knows his way around the competition.

As Captain it appears that he has taken a very different stance to his American counterpart, by choosing experience over youth.

He has chosen to keep a couple of ‘staple’ European players in his team who always seem to rise to the occasion regardless of their recent form (we don’t even need to tell you their names do we really).

The European Ryder Cup standings are based on two lists – the European Points list and the World Points list. To make sure both lists were accurate and up to date the European team could not be announced until the completion of the BMW PGA. 

The top four players from the European points list make the team, along with the top five players in the world points list who were not already in on the European points list.

These are the European players who have qualified from the European points list, with the numbers in brackets stating their number of previous Ryder Cup appearances…

Jon Rahm (1)

Tommy Fleetwood (1)

Tyrrell Hatton (1)

Bernd Wiesberger (0)

These are the 5 that have qualified from the World Points list:

Rory McIlroy (5)

Viktor Hovland (0)

Paul Casey (4)

Matthew Fitzpatrick (1)

Lee Westwood (10)

The stand outs? Well, it must be McIlroy, Casey, and Westwood simply due to their incredible amount of experience.

Combined they have 19 Ryder Cup performances, so it’s safe to say they are well versed in the playing format and the intense pressure that a Ryder Cup brings. 

And here are the captain’s picks Padraig Harrington announced last Sunday:

Ian Poulter (6)

Sergio Garcia (9)

Shane Lowry (0)

Personally, we don’t think it comes as any surprise that Poulter and Garcia have been chosen as wild cards.

They have become an integral part of the European team over the years, and with 15 appearances between it’s clear to see why. 

Lowry, well his inclusion was a little more surprising as choosing him meant that another Ryder Cup veteran, Justin Rose was left out.

In a press conference Harrington explained that while Justin was in contention based on his last 2 events, it was hard to overlook the consistency of Lowry and there was no chance that either Poulter or Garcia would not be selected. 

We think it’s safe to say that from our analysis of both teams, the captains have taken very difference paths in choosing their final 12 players.

Whose choice do we think will pay off we hear you ask?

Well, it has to be Harrington’s without question, we’re team Europe ‘til we die’, and we just can’t see the USA rookies outperforming the tried and tested Europeans. 

Agree or disagree? Drop us a comment on our socials and let us know who you think will win PLUS who will be the standout player from both teams.

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