Date: August 23, 2012
Author: Bruce Young /

European Tour heads to Scotland

The European Tour plays its final qualifying event for the Ryder Cup this week when the Johnnie Walker Championship is played at the Gleneagles Hotel in Auchterarder in Perthshire in Scotland. With the European Ryder Cup team qualifiers finalised and the Captain s picks named at the named at the completion of this event then much is at stake for those on the bubble. The qualifiers to the USA side have been finalised although Captain Davis Love gets another two weeks to confirm his four selections. In terms of current world ranking the leading player in this week s field is Francesco Molinari but it is perhaps the Belgian golfer Nicolas Colsaerts who will start as the favourite due to his impressive play of late. Colsaerts has though set himself a hectic schedule having played at the PGA Championship and the Wyndham Championship in the US in the past two weeks. Colsaerts is not yet assured of a place in the European Ryder Cup side so he quite simply has to be here if he is to be part of that team although his form in 2012 perhaps warrants his inclusion as one of Jose Maria Olazabal s picks. He needs to finish inside the top two this week if he is to play his way onto the team. Francesco Molinari already has a place in the team but he is still likely to be a significant factor this week. He has not played as well in recent weeks as he did when runner-up in Scotland and France leading into the Open Championship but he is a class player in good enough form to contend again. Thorbjorn Olesen is a young player who appears destined for great things in the game. He has won this season already and his 9th place finish at the Open Championship and a very good midfield effort at the PGA Championship tells the story of a player who will rise to much greater heights than he is at present. He missed the cut in this event last year but is a significantly more credentialed player now. David Lynn shocked the golfing world when he finished runner-up to Rory McIlroy at the PGA Championship but he was also very good when 4th at the French Open. Lynn also missed the cut in this event last year but twelve months earlier was 19th and was 10th in 2009. Alexander Noren has had a good run of events over the past six weeks or so including a 9th place finish at the Open Championship and a 3rd place finish in Scotland. Thomas Bjorn is the defending champion having survived a five man playoff to win the event last year. Bjorn was runner up at the Wales Open earlier in the season and has played well enough against much stronger fields that he faces this week in more recent starts. Australians in the field are Marcus Fraser, Richard Green, former runner-up Brett Rumford, Andrew Dodt, Rick Kulacz, Marcus Both, Peter O Malley, Matthew Zions and Wade Ormsby.