Good Week, Bad Week
Performances at the Scottish Open were key
A good week for...
Up to 22nd in Europe’s Ryder Cup standings after his Scottish Open win, the Swede is the sort of golfer who could put on a late run in these final few months of the qualifying race. Do not be surprised if victory at Castle Stuart leads to another accomplished showing at the Open at Royal Troon. This was the best victory to date in the career of Noren, who is 34 this week, but it was in truth overdue. He has long been touted as a future star and perhaps now he will fulfil all of that promise.
As a former US Open champion, the Northern Irishman is hardly going to do cartwheels at finishing in a tie for 10th at the Scottish Open. But this could be an important result in McDowell’s attempt to maintain his proud record of having qualified by right for four straight Ryder Cups, the longest current European streak. Down to No 17 in the standings, he still needs a huge week to force his way into the automatic top nine, but at the very least he has reminded captain Darren Clarke of his quality.
The 24-year-old is now 23rd in the standings, which has given him a chance of Ryder Cup contention. Perhaps Hazeltine is falling two years too early for the Englishman, but the nerveless manner with which he grabbed outright second at the Scottish Open marks him out as one for the future.
A bad week for...
The 21-year-old is still in Europe’s automatic top nine – he is eighth – and is still in a strong position to qualify for his Ryder Cup debut, but he will not have enjoyed missing his second cut in as many weeks. After his win at the Nordea Masters last month, Fitzpatrick seemed likely to enter cruise mode towards Hazeltine, but on two courses which suit – Le Golf National and Castle Stuart – he has taken two unexpected steps backwards. That said, he can cement his Ryder Cup place at the Open; he boasts all the attributes to do well at Troon and to shrug off this miserable fortnight.
At No 12 in the standings, the Irishman could have done without missing the cut at the Scottish Open. But there is still time for Lowry to force his way into The Ryder Cup reckoning, and after playing so well for 54 holes at the US Open – he led by four going into the final round – he will fancy his chances of showing well at the Open. He has stated his intention “to get back to basics” for the oldest major and must put Hazeltine out of his mind.
The Englishman qualified for the Open by dint of Jaco van Zyl’s withdrawal, but after a fine third round of 69 at Castle Stuart the former world No 1 failed to rise up the leaderboard thanks to a disappointing 74 on Sunday, which saw him fall to a tie for 45th. Time is running out for Donald who is now down at 32 in the standings and has managed just one top-10 finish all year. He needs an excellent week at Royal Troon. Donald is too good to be down with the also-rans.