Westwood, Poulter and Gallacher favourites for wildcards?

Paul McGinley and Lee Westwood at the 2011 Vivendi Trophy in Paris. Picture Jenny Matthews/www.golffile.ie

If nothing changes at the Italian Open this week, Luke Donald, Stephen Gallacher, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter will be battling for Paul McGinley's three Ryder Cup wildcards.

Graeme McDowell's campaign ended in New Jersey on Sunday as he is taking the week off to be with his wife Kristin, who is due to tie birth to the couple's first child, a girl, by C-section today.

Currently ninth in the race and holding down the last of nine spots via the World Points List, McDowell can only be pushed out of the team if Gallacher finishes in the Top-2 at Circolo Golf Torino this week.


With the second FedEx Cup event, the Deutsche Bank Championship, not counting for Ryder Cup qualification, there is no way for Donald, Poulter or the eliminated Westwood to qualify automatically.

McDowell clearly feels he has done enough to warrant his place in the side and while he wished Gallacher the best in Italy, commenting at The Barclays that a big result for the Scot would "throw the cat among the pigeons", he does not think he's a likely victim.

Should Gallacher qualify, McDowell looks assured of the nod, leaving McGinley to choose between Donald, Poulter and Westwood for the remaining two spots.

Poulter is also highly likely to get a wildcard given his record, his heroics at Medinah in 2012 and the fact that he has been hampered by injury more so than poor form.

That would leave McGinley to decide between Donald and Westwood for the remaining wildcard.

If Gallacher fails to qualify, he would be ahead of Donald in the pecking order on current form but as a potential rookie, he would trail in terms of experience.

Westwood's elimination from the FedEx Cup playoffs on Sunday is the only problem for McGinley and the Englishman may well have to play in at least one European Tour event before Gleneagles — the ISPS Handa Wales Open the week before the Ryder Cup looks the most likely — to remain sharp if he is to be considered. 

McGinley is clearly a fan of Westwood's, as he said at the US PGA last year following criticism of the Englishman for his failure to convert a two-stroke final round lead in The Open at Muirfield into a first major win.

“From what I know about Lee and being in Ryder Cup teams with him and competing against him, I can honestly say it makes me laugh when I see the headlines saying Lee Westwood doesn’t have the bottle and all that," McGinley said at the time.

“Of all the guys in professional golf, he is right up there at the very, very top in having the most bottle. There is no question of him not having the fight for the battle. He has proved that many, many times, with the number of wins he has had around the world and his performances in Ryder Cup.

“In the team room, you get to see a guy. You see a guy naked in the team room and you can sense where a guy is at and I can assure you that Lee Westwood has never, ever shown any weakness in that regard.

“Lee Westwood is a hard man, he is reminiscent of Tom Watson. Hard, but fair.”

European Points List World Points List
PosPlayer NameCountryPoints PosPlayer NameCountryPoints
1Rory MCILROY5537075.35 1Rory MCILROY538.18
2Henrik STENSON2893568.55 2Henrik STENSON389.60
3Victor DUBUISSON2880182.84 3Sergio GARCIA368.05
4Jamie DONALDSON2676347.42 4Justin ROSE287.38
5Sergio GARCIA2539593.00 5Martin KAYMER247.27
6Thomas BJÖRN2489768.80 6Thomas BJÖRN206.34
7Justin ROSE2138323.13 7Victor DUBUISSON204.79
8Martin KAYMER2006411.16 8Jamie DONALDSON194.51
9Ian POULTER1962706.58 9Graeme MCDOWELL171.82
10Graeme MCDOWELL1668114.17 10Luke DONALD167.55
11Joost LUITEN1665417.38 11Stephen GALLACHER160.61
12Stephen GALLACHER1604210.27 12Ian POULTER150.62
13Miguel Angel JIMÉNEZ1579636.60 13Miguel Angel JIMÉNEZ142.85
14Francesco MOLINARI1443593.90 14Francesco MOLINARI139.82
15Gonzalo FDEZ-CASTAÑO1316359.98 15Joost LUITEN130.10
16Mikko ILONEN1254682.98 16Lee WESTWOOD120.48
17Shane LOWRY1248904.89 17Gonzalo FDEZ-CASTAÑO111.13
18Lee WESTWOOD1167563.39 18Pablo LARRAZÁBAL106.27
19Pablo LARRAZÁBAL1112458.64 19Mikko ILONEN102.89