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Europe’s Ryder Cup Current Automatic Picks : A look at the current players set to be automatic picks for next years Ryder Cup in 2021.
2020 has been a challenging year for golf fans, with their sport being played behind closed doors. For obvious reasons of the recent pandemic the Ryder Cup, one of sports biggest events, was postponed.
Originally meant to be played this September at Whistling Straits, the event has been moved to 2021. This has been the first time since 1999 that the Ryder Cup has been moved to odd-numbered years. Europe’s soon to be captain Padraig Harrington will have a headache trying to pick his team.
He is joined by assistant captains Luke Donald and Robert Karlson. Europe are current defending champions, having won on European soil in France back in 2018. Europe’s current record against the USA in the last twenty years is eight wins from ten matches.
Harrington and his vice-captains will no doubt want to retain the Ryder Cup at all costs next year.
Let’s take a look at the top 5 players currently in the automatic places for the European team.
1 Tommy Fleetwood (3927.42)
Topping the list in the number one position on the automatic points list is Englishman Tommy Fleetwood. He sits at a total point amount of 3927.42, currently beating off some of Europe’s best.
Fleetwood has already played in the 2018 Ryder Cup having been a rookie last time out. His record stands at four wins, one halve and no defeats. On Fleetwood’s impressive rookie Ryder Cup he earned four and a half points. His pairing alongside Francesco Molinari in France broke records. They became the first pairing to win all four of their matches in a single Ryder Cup. Thus far, the Englishman has had a relatively good year, with most of the year ruled out due to the coronavirus.
Fleetwood’s best finishes this year include four top-five finishes and four top twenties. The best finish’s coming in the Scottish Open and Abu Dhabi in second place. Despite these good finish’s he has seen himself drop out of the top ten in the world rankings.
Fleetwood began the season in tenth spot and now finds himself down to sixteenth. On the European tour, the Englishman’s stats make for some good reading. He ranks second for greens in regulation at seventy-one percent, almost a whopping ten percent above the average.
His other stats include ranking eighth in sand saves with sixty-six percent and second in stroke average with sixty-nine. It is clear that the twenty-nine year old is progressing at an accelerating rate.
His stats in 2020 are greatly improved to that of 2019. Even if Fleetwood doesn’t finish in the automatic places Harrington values this kind of hard work and dedication.
Without any doubt Fleetwood is in Harrington’s team considerations for the 2021 battle with the United States.
2 Jon Rahm (3747.50)
Sitting in second place on the points list of automatic qualifiers is Spaniard Jon Rahm. He’s currently amassed a total 3747.50 on the Europe points listing. The world number two is known for his short but powerful half swing and fiery on-course temper.
The twenty-six-year-old made his Ryder Cup debut in 2018, helping his team to victory. His Ryder cup points total stands at two with one win and two halves earned. These were in two foursomes matches and one singles match.
Rahm has had a great year on the PGA Tour in 2020 with two wins, three top five’s, four top tens, and three top twenties. His two victories were at the BMW Championship and the Memorial. Rahm’s also had excellent finishes in the two majors this year.
A tied thirteenth at the PGA Championship followed by a recent tied seventh at the Masters. Rahm has yet to win his first major, with his best finish coming in third at the 2019 US Open.
Rahm’s best stats on the PGA Tour this season are first in scoring and third in scoring tee to green. The Spaniard also ranks fourth for scoring off the tee. His average drive ranks at twenty-second averaging over three hundred and seven yards.
For Harrington, Rahm has to be included in the team come 2021. Although it is a little under a year away, I still expect Rahm to be in the conversation.
His victories and top finishes speak for themselves, and with Ryder Cup experience already under his belt, he’s a proven talent.
3 Rory Mcllroy (2679.44)
At number three on the automatic points list is Northern Ireland’s Rory Mcllroy. The man from Hollywood has accumulated 2679.44 points from his last season. The four-time major winner has played in five Ryder Cups from 2010 to most recently in 2018.
His overall record for Europe stands at eleven wins, nine halves, and four defeats. This comes to a total of fifteen and a half points earned for Europe over this eight-year period. Mcllroy was part of the 2012 European team that pulled off the Miracle at Madinah.
The Ryder Cup in Madinah went down as one of sports greatest comebacks. Despite Rory’s on the course struggles this year with many critics doubting his form, he’s had good finishes. The Irishman’s had five top five’s, two top ten’s, and three top twenties.
His best top-five finish came in a tie for third at the Farmers Insurance Open back at the start of the 2020 season. On the major front, Mcllroy has performed very well with a top ten in both the US Open and Masters.
Rory’s best stats from the 2020 season saw him rank sixth in strokes gained off the tee and from tee to green. One worry for Mcllroy lately as the new season begins is his iron play. So far in the 2021 stats, he ranks at one hundred and seventy-third in the field for approaches to the green.
Critics have pointed this out lately as a clear point of anger for the Irishman. This was then later confirmed as we saw Rory snapping his club in anger at the ZoZo Championship.
This coming after Mcllroy missed the green from one hundred and forty-five yards, an easy shot by his standards.
Regardless he’s a must in Harrington’s European side come 2021.
4 Victor Perez (2669.95)
Ranking in at number four, the last automatic spot on the points list is Frenchman Victor Perez. He sits on 2699.95 points, marginally ahead of England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick.
In comparison to the other names on this list he is mostly unknown in the mainstream golfing world. Perez is a regular on the European Tour since turning pro in 2015. The Frenchman started his professional career in the third tier of the Alps Tour before making it onto the Challenge Tour.
His first win came in the Challenge De Espania in his rookie season, earning invites onto the European Tour. It took Perez one year to secure his tour card by 2019, with his first win following that same year.
The Frenchman went onto win the Alfred Dunhill links but was unable to defend his title this year. This was due to the tournament’s postponement in the rescheduling of the tour schedule post covid lockdown.
In the 2020 season Pereze’s best results have been two second-place finishes in significant events. He placed second at the BMW PGA Championship and the Abu Dhabi Championship. His best major finish this year was tied twenty-second at the PGA Championship.
Perez has remained consistent with his game all season, making ten cuts out of thirteen events. The Frenchman’s best stat this season has him ranked in sixth place for putts per green at 1.78.
With 2020 being arguably Perez’s best season to date, it remains to be seen if he can hold this consistency. If Perez falls out of the automatic places next season, I don’t see him making the team.
He will need big results in 2021 to impress Harrington and his vice-captains.
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