Ryder Cup boost for Chopra

By Brian Keogh

Swede Daniel Chopra got his 2008 Ryder Cup bid off to the perfect start with a sudden death win in the Mercedes Benz Championship in Hawaii.

Chopra beat American Steve Stricker at the fourth extra hole to take the season-opening event on the PGA Tour and jump to second in the European Ryder Cup race and 61st in the world.

But the Stockholm native knows that he will have to play brilliantly on the PGA Tour this year to make Nick Faldo's European side through the world rankings.

Chopra said: "It's a long way away still. I've obviously got some Ryder Cup points that will propel me up the rankings, but the European Tour has a lot of tournaments and I still have to be in the top five of the ranked players in the world and then they go to the next five.

"It's not like in America where I have to be in the Top 10. I have to be in the top five. I have to play well, and when you consider guys like Harrington and Stenson and Monty and Sergio and all those guys they're going to be racking up points.

"I've got to beat those guys. I have to be amongst the very elite that Europe has in order to make the team, which is a tough road. But I'm in position now. We'll see what happens."

Chopra earned $1.1 million (€750,000) and a place in the Masters for his second PGA Tour win as Stricker leap-frogged Jim Furyk and Ernie Els to become world No 3.

Padraig Harrington remained at world No 8 in the latest world rankings with 108th ranked Graeme McDowell the only other Irishman in the world's top 200.

Paul McGinley is the next best at 206th with Rory McIlroy (228th) just ahead of Darren Clarke (229th).

Latest leading positions in the European Ryder Cup tables (top five in world list, plus next leading five in European list on August 31 qualify. Captain Nick Faldo then adds two wild cards.)

The Ryder Cup World Points List
*1 Justin Rose 120.83
*2 Daniel Chopra 100.27
*3 Lee Westwood 95.09
*4 Ian Poulter 74.66
*5 Nick Dougherty 62.77
6 Søren Hansen 58.72
7 Miguel Angel Jimenez 58.36
8 Robert Karlsson 51.57
9 Steve Webster 48.42
10 Padraig Harrington 48.07

The Ryder Cup European Points List
1 Justin Rose 1133349.78
2 Lee Westwood 1008366.10
3 Nick Dougherty 745594.08
*4 Steve Webster 669636.08
*5 Robert Karlsson 623469.12
*6 Søren Hansen 585301.50
*7 Søren Kjeldsen 576451.40
*8 Miguel Angel Jimenez 553788.65
9 Phillip Archer 500186.21
10 Grégory Bourdy 483231.92