Padraig Harrington suggests Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter are shoo-ins for Ryder Cup picks
Europe captain Padraig Harrington has revealed Sergio Garcia “nearly needs to lose a limb” to miss out on a wildcard for September’s Ryder Cup and that Ian Poulter is “not far behind” as he considers his three picks for Whistling Straits. Harrington also believes that the top nine in the Europe standings “look pretty well set” to qualify automatically. The Irishman’s comments before Thursday’s first round of the USPGA Championship here at the Ocean Course, are bound to raise a few eyebrows in the camps of Justin Rose, Francesco Molinari, Henrik Stenson, Danny Willett and reigning Open champion, Shane Lowry. As a supposed Europe stalwart who is only a few places off the automatic berths, Rose could feel especially shocked to hear he could essentially be in a dogfight for one spot. Meanwhile, rookies such as Bob MacIntyre and Matt Wallace must now believe they require dramatic headway in the last few months of the points race to make it by right. Speaking candidly to Telegraph Sport, Harrington said: “If you look at the team, the top nine guys are well up there. Yes, from now on it is double points [per qualifying event], the reason being that if someone plays well, form will be rewarded, but only one guy is going to play their way in at most. “I would say the experienced players will now be playing to impress and the rookies should know they have to play their way in. “If you look at the guys who aren’t in, it would be a very odd decision to overlook Sergio and Poulter so that doesn’t leave very much does it? Which is difficult. Justin is the perfect example. He showed at Augusta [where he finished seventh] that he likes the big event. And what if Frankie starts playing well? “You got four or five Ryder Cup players in contention. Sergio will nearly need to lose a limb not to be picked and Poulter is not far behind him. Nobody is guaranteed a pick, but, well, you have to think with Sergio and Ian…” Garcia is currently in 13th in the standings and with his status as the match’s all-time record point scorer, it would, indeed, be difficult to envisage the Spaniard being denied a 10th appearance.