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Experience or form? McIlroy does not envy the choice . . .

Rory McIlroy may face a similar task one day but he is glad not to be in Paul McGinley's shoes just a week before the Europe team captain has to announce his three wild card picks for the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.

Rory McIlroy is still in the hunt for a first FedEx Cup title despite Hunter Mahan's win on Sunday. Picture: Darren Carroll/Getty Images
Rory McIlroy is still in the hunt for a first FedEx Cup title despite Hunter Mahan's win on Sunday. Picture: Darren Carroll/Getty Images

While McGinley ponders over who to select and whom he omits, McIlroy was yesterday relaxing courtside at Flushing Meadows, cheering on his friend Andy Murray in his US Open first-round encounter.

McIlroy was returning the favour after Murray had walked the second round on Friday, following the world No.1-ranked golfer in The Barclays in nearby Paramus, New Jersey.

With as many as seven players to choose from, McGinley faces the toughest choice yet for a Europe team captain. His task could become that even more difficult should Scotland's Stephen Gallacher finish in the top two in this week's Italian Open in Turin, the final European Tour qualify­ing event.

Gallacher would then knock Graeme McDowell, currently ranked ninth and automatically in the team, back to 10th, which would leave McGinley to pick three players on September 2 from the likes of McDowell, Luke Donald, Ian Poulter, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Joost Luiten, Francesco Molinari and eight-time Euro team member Lee Westwood.

"It would be better if Paul didn't have to use his picks on guys such as Luke [Donald], Stevie [Gallacher], Poults [Poulter] or Lee [Westwood]," said McIlroy. "The question is: do you go with form or do you go with experience. That's a headache Paul is going to have over this next week.

"Paul would want guys playing well but at the same time you would want guys who have the experience in that arena; it's going to be a tough decision."

McIlroy confirmed he will contest the closing three events in the FedEx Cup Play-off Series, following the suggestion that he might skip next week's Barclays Championship in Denver. The four-time major winner said: "I was thinking about missing Denver but I feel fine, I feel fresh and I have no problem playing a lot of golf.

"One of the reasons I want to go to Denver is the [Denver] Broncos play the [Chicago] Bulls on the Sunday night in the first NFL game of the season; I want to go to that, as well.

"I've heard a lot of great things about the Cherry Hills course - like the golf ball travels a mile there - so I am looking forward to that, and hitting 7-irons 220 yards."

With a week's break scheduled next year in the middle of the Play-off Series and ahead of the Barclays Championship, it has been confirmed McIlroy will travel to Switzerland to contest the Omega European Masters, where he had let slip the chance of a first pro career victory in 2008. His goal of capturing a first FedEx Cup title remains on track despite the American Hunter Mahan having gone past him in the standings with victory in New Jersey. Mahan's victory delivered the US Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson a bonus as it indicated that he is well worth a wild card selection.

McIlroy registered his pleasure at the Welshman Jamie Donaldson having secured a place in McGinley's Europe team. "It was great to see Jamie qualify; he's a great guy and I've played with him many times over the past few months," said McIlroy. "He gets on well with everybody which is important. Paul could pair Jamie with anyone because he's a very solid player tee-to-green and doesn't make many mistakes. He's the type of player that could grind his opponent down by hitting fairways and hitting greens; he's a great addition to the Europe team."

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