28 Nov 2022

PGA TOUR picks are essential for Europe’s Ryder Cup hopes

This year’s DP World Tour Championship was a great end to the season, but it was hardly surprising to see the cream rise to the top. The rough made things more interesting but with the Earth course set up close to 7,700 yards it was always going to play into the hands of the power hitters like Rory and Rahm.

The greens were the best I’ve seen them and that was highlighted when Fitzpatrick rolled in five back-to-back birdies from length during the opening round. Matt was going great during the first two rounds but to take on Rory and Rahm he needed to push the swing speed to the max, but that can lead to the movements getting out of sync and that is what happened.

 

Seamus Power currently leads the FedEx Cup on the PGA Tour

The Power Game

You could argue that the course was too long, but the modern game is all about power and draws the crowds. It was a shame Thomas Pieters couldn’t play but family comes first. He can easily carry the ball over 300 yards and would have been a real threat over the weekend, as his power is effortless.

Many thought Ryan Fox had the distance and form to win, but it’s been a long season which showed as he just couldn’t get going. At the end of the year many players are burnt out which is why it’s interesting to see the DP World Tour have factored in a three week break after The Open next year. 

It’s a good idea but I’m not sure a break of that length during a peak period in the season works, though the Irish Open and the BMW PGA Championship in September will be crucial events for players looking to impress Luke Donald.

 

Sepp Straka won the 2022 Honda Classic and finished 7th on the 2022 FedEx Cup standings

Ryder Cup in Dubai

Which leads me on to The Ryder Cup. The leaderboard at DP World Tour Championship was a clear indicator of how the European Team might line up in Rome but those big names will need to play the required number events on the DP World Tour to make the Captain’s picks effective.

If Rory and Rahm make the team through picks then Luke could struggle to select the strongest team, which is why I think the current system is limited. A captain should be able to pick his 12 best players and right now I would be including Padraig Harrington. I know he’s playing unbelievably on the Champions Tour but I would argue he’s playing the best golf of his career, plus his experience would be priceless to Luke.

Europe stand a good chance in Rome if the big European names do not jump over to LIV Golf. If they sign players like Hovland and Pieters, Luke will be up against it but I’m sure he’s also got one eye on every European Player teeing it up on the PGA TOUR right now.

Players like Seamus Power, who currently tops the 2023 FedEx Cup ranking, are mixing it up with the best on the PGA TOUR and rocketing up the Official World Golf Ranking. Austrian Sepp Straka who finished seventh on the 2022 FedEx Cup won the Honda Classic earlier this year is 29th on the world ranking, but many fans of the DP World Tour wouldn’t have heard of him. 

 

The points arguement

That leads me on to the points argument Rory and Rahm disagreed about during the DP World Tour Championship and I can see where Jon is coming from more than Rory. 

Canadian Adam Svenssen won the RSM Classic and moved from 174th on the world ranking to 72nd.  While Rahm won in Dubai and remained 5th in the ranking.

I understand it takes into consideration the full field ranking but it dilutes the kudos of the DP World Tour Championship, so should the DP World Tour open the event up to a full field?

It’s the only Rolex Series event that has a limited field and a larger entry might give players the opportunity to defeat the like of Rory who they rarely get to tee it up against.

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