McDowell edges closer to Top 50 and Ryder Cup
 Graeme McDowell celebrates his win with friends

Graeme McDowell celebrates his win with friends

Graeme McDowell moved up to 53rd in the world folowing the RSM Classic at Sea Island and insisted he’s excited about his progress as he bids to win his fifth Ryder Cup cap under Darren Clarke next year.

The Portrush man fell from 15th to 85th in the world this year but he’s risen 32 spots in two weeks thanks to his win in the OHL Classic at Mayakoba and his third place finish behind maiden winner Kevin Kisner in Georgia.

“I’m exiting with a lot more than I’d hoped for coming into these couple weeks,” McDowell said of his end to 2015. "My game has been in decent shape the last few months, but I came away from Turkey, my last event in Europe, with not a lot to show for myself.

"I kept kind of throwing it away on the weekends despite the fact that I knew I was starting to sort of building some confidence and momentum.

"So these two weeks have been so big for me on many levels. Like you said, gives me something to really take into the off-season, something to build on in the new year.

Clarke’s team may not be as strong as recent Europpean line ups in terms of experience with players like McDowell, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Thomas Bjorn currently outside the top 12 Europeans in the world.

Only four players ranked outside the Top 50 in the world the previous November have gone on to make the last three teams —  Nicolas Colsaerts (75th in 2011), Peter Hanson (54th in 2011), Stephen Gallacher (62nd in 2013) and Paul Lawrie, who was 149th in the world and Europe’s 48th highest ranked player the previous November before going on to win twice the following year.

Colsaerts and Gallacher needed wildcards and while that’s good news for Europe’s current No 48, David Horsey, the odds are that Europe’s 12 man team will come from within the current world’s Top 60. 

If history is our guide, the 2016 team will be made up from the top 20 names below with the possibility of a surprise package from well down the rankings.

Current European world rankings

  1. Rory McIlroy 3 
  2. Justin Rose 5
  3. Henrik Stenson 7  
  4. Sergio Garcia 11
  5. Danny Willett 20
  6. Shane Lowry 21
  7. (Paul Casey unavailable) 25
  8. Martin Kaymer 26 
  9. Russell Knox 28 
  10. Bernd Wiesberger 30
  11. Victor Dubuisson 35
  12. Andy Sullivan 36 
  13. Soren Kjeldsen 45
  14. Matthew Fitzpatrick 47
  15. Chris Wood 52
  16. Graeme McDowell 53
  17. Ian Poulter 54
  18. David Lingmerth 55
  19. Lee Westwood 56
  20. Francesco Molinari 62    
  21. Jamie Donaldson 64
  22. Kristoffer Broberg 65
  23. Marc Warren 66    
  24. Luke Donald 72
  25. Thorbjorn Olesen 77
  26. Tommy Fleetwood 79
  27. Ross Fisher 83
  28. Joost Luiten 84
  29. Ricardo Gouveia 85
  30. Thomas Pieters 88
  31. Miguel A Jimenez 89
  32. Alexander Levy 90
  33. James Morrison 91
  34. David Howell 94  
  35. Alexander Noren 95
  36. Tyrrell Hatton 100
  37. Richie Ramsay 101
  38. Eddie Pepperell 106
  39. Rafael Cabrera Bello 111
  40. Stephen Gallacher 114
  41. Pablo Larrazabal 122
  42. Lee Slattery 126
  43. Lucas Bjerregaard 128
  44. Gary Stal 134
  45. Padraig Harrington 138
  46. Marcel Siem 141
  47. Rikard Karlberg 143
  48. Alex Cejka 150

Here’s how the 2014 Paul McGinley team ranked in week 47 2013

  1. Henrik Stenson 3
  2. Justin Rose 5
  3. Rory McIlroy 6
  4. Graeme McDowell 12
  5. Ian Poulter 13 Captain’s pick
  6. Luke Donald 15 (DNQ/Not selected)
  7. Sergio Garcia 19
  8. Lee Westwood 23 Captain’s pick
  9. Jamie Donaldson 30
  10. Victor Dubuisson 31
  11. Thomas Bjorn 34
  12. Martin Kaymer 38
  13. Jonas Blixt 39 (DNQ/Not selected)
  14. Matteo Manassero 41 (DNQ/Not selected)
  15. David Lynn 44 (DNQ/Not selected)
  16. Peter Hanson 46 (DNQ/Not selected)
  17. Miguel Angel Jimenez 47 (DNQ/Not selected)
  18. Joost Luiten 55 (DNQ/Not selected)
  19. Thorbjorn Olesen 58 (DNQ/Not selected)
  20. Stephen Gallacher 62 Captain’s pick

2012 - Jose Maria Olazabal (Captain) Rankings in week 47 the previous year

  1. Luke Donald 1
  2. Rory McIlroy 2
  3. Lee Westwood 3
  4. Martin Kaymer 4
  5. Graeme McDowell 14
  6. Justin Rose 16
  7. Sergio García 17
  8. Paul Casey 21 (DNQ/Not selected)
  9. Ian Poulter 25 (Captain’s pick)
  10. Robert Karlsson 28 (DNQ/Not selected) 
  11. Anders Hansen 31 (DNQ/Not selected)
  12. Simon Dyson 32 (DNQ/Not selected)
  13. Thomas Bjorn 33 (DNQ/Not selected)
  14. Fredrik Jacobson 34 (Not eligible)
  15. Darren Clarke 36 (DNQ/Not selected)
  16. Francesco Molinari 39
  17. Miguel Angel Jimenez 40 (DNQ/Not selected)
  18. Martin Laird 42 (DNQ/Not selected)
  19. Gonzalo Fdez-Castano 46 (DNQ/Not selected)
  20. Alvaro Quiros 47 (DNQ/Not selected)
  21. Peter Hanson 54
  22. Matteo Manassero 56 (DNQ/Not selected)
  23. Joost Luiten 66 (DNQ/Not selected)
  24. Nicolas Colsaerts 75 (Captain’s pick)
  25. Padraig Harrington 80  (DNQ/Not selected)
  26. Jamie Donaldson 83  (DNQ/Not selected)
  27. Pablo Larrazabal 84 (DNQ/Not selected)
  28. Ross Fisher 87 (DNQ/Not selected)
  29. David Lynn 96 (DNQ/Not selected)
  30. Fredrik Andersson Hed 98 (DNQ/Not selected)
  31. Raphael Jacquelin 100 (DNQ/Not selected)
  32. Michael Hoey 101 (DNQ/Not selected)
  33. Carl Pettersson 102 (DNQ/Not selected)
  34. Johan Edfors 106 (DNQ/Not selected)
  35. Brian Davis 107 (DNQ/Not selected)
  36. Richie Ramsay 116 (DNQ/Not selected)
  37. David Horsey 117 (DNQ/Not selected)
  38. Stephen Gallacher 127 (DNQ/Not selected)
  39. Tommy Fleetwood 128 (DNQ/Not selected)
  40. Rafael Cabrera Bello 129  (DNQ/Not selected)
  41. Gregory Havret 130 (DNQ/Not selected)
  42. Gregory Bourdy 131 (DNQ/Not selected)
  43. Robert Rock 133 (DNQ/Not selected)
  44. Mark Foster 135 (DNQ/Not selected)
  45. Lorenzo Gagli 136  (DNQ/Not selected)
  46. Shane Lowry 137 (DNQ/Not selected)
  47. Rhys Davies 140 (DNQ/Not selected)
  48. Paul Lawrie 149