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Ryder Cup 2014: Poulter and Donald primed for strong late claims

| 28.08.2014

With only one more Ryder Cup qualifying event left before European team captain Paul McGinley finalises his line up for Gleneagles, there’s even more at stake on both sides of the Atlantic this weekend than combined prize purses of around $10m.

McGinley has stated that he will announce his wild card picks on Tuesday, having taken in the results of the European tour’s Italian Open and the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston, the second leg of the FedEx Cup play-offs.

Rory McIIroy, Henrik Stenson, Victor Dubuisson, Jamie Donaldson, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer and Thomas Bjorn are in, so with one more automatic place left we’ve run the rule over the candidates to make up the numbers in Gleneagles.

The Likely Lads    

Former US Open winner and five-time top-ten major finisher Graeme McDowell is practically assured of a place, with the Northern Irishman currently in the final qualifying spot, although his absence from the Italian Open – due to paternity duties – means he could still need a wild card.

Stephen Gallacher is the only player who can supplant McDowell in the rankings, but even if the 36-year-old – whose uncle Bernard captained Europe three times between 1991-95 – doesn’t make the team automatically, a Ryder Cup debut on a course he knows inside-out looks booked.

Gallacher is 14/1 to guarantee a place at Gleneagles by winning in Turin.

Luke Donald has featured in each of Europe’s last four Ryder Cup wins and the long-time former world number one is just behind McDowell in the European Ryder Cup points list.

The 36-year-old is 66/1 to triumph in Boston, a result which would prove overwhelming evidence for his inclusion.    

Ian Poulter became synonymous with the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ two years ago, with the wild card pick posting four points from his four matches, but the three-time Ryder Cup winner is in real danger of missing out this time.

However, if Poulter can creep into the top 20 in America at 7/2, McGinley could be forced to go with the world number 35.

The Likely Miss-outs

Lee Westwood now ranks as a big outsider for an eighth successive Ryder Cup appearance, having failed to qualify for the Boston event, while likely 2016 captain Miguel Angel Jimenez won’t feature competitively over the weekend and looks set for disappointment.

Francesco Molinari and Joost Luiten need huge showings in Turin to force themselves into McGinley’s thoughts. They’re priced up at 10/1 and 20/1 respectively.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Fortune