• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Veteran German is the pick of the oldies, but a pick for McGinley?

Who said giving Bernhard Langer a Ryder Cup wild card was a daft idea?

Certainly not Des Smyth, one of Europe's vice-captains for next month's showdown at Gleneagles.

Langer, the evergreen German, continued his astonishing season with a fifth victory on the Champions Tour in the United States on Sunday night. Paul McGinley, the Europe captain, has, admittedly, had his say on the issue and suggested recently that he is "99.9% sure that my picks will come from the guys who are on the periphery of the team". It is fair enough. Langer is not involved in the qualifying scramble, after all, but the 56-year-old has got the tongues wagging with his prolific form among the golden oldies.

"It's a very hard call, but, personally, I don't think he would weaken the team," admitted Smyth, the 61-year-old Irishman who played in two Ryder Cups in 1979 and '81. "I saw what Paul said about it last week. He [Langer] is not competing against players who are trying to make the team so it would be unfair for the rest. I know when I was looking for a spot on the team you weren't looking for Neil Coles [a Ryder Cup stalwart of a previous generation] to get picked. It's a hard call, though."

McGinley has been given plenty of food for thought as the wild card scramble intensifies. Big-hitting, if slightly misfiring, names like Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter, as well as Luke Donald and Franceso Molinari, remain on the captain's list of picks, while Stephen Gallacher, who has missed his last two cuts in the PGA Championship and the Wyndham Championship, lurks on the fringes of the automatic qualifying places and could do with one final flurry after going off the boil recently.

"We were hoping Stephen would [do well]," added Smyth. "He's been playing very well but he's got to do something in the last two weeks to be in there. He's not far away. But you have to look at the players that may have to be selected. They all have great Ryder Cup credentials."

While Team Europe bask in the glow of Rory McIlroy's back-to-back major wins, the Americans have been rattled by injuries to Jason Dufner and Matt Kuchar, as well as the withdrawal of Dustin Johnson. Tiger Woods will not be at Gleneagles either but Smyth is not buying into the widely held assumption that Europe are the overwhelming favourites.

"I don't think we are going to fall into that trap," he added. "Is there a weak player in the Ryder Cup? I've never seen one. I think their big miss will be Dustin Johnston. I think there are other players who are injured, but they have other great players.

"Look at the leaderboard in the PGA Championship? Rory is the winner, then it went American, American, Stenson [Swedish], American, American. All we're talking about is getting points. Let's face it, 14 points and we retain the trophy; 14½ and we win it."

Contextual targeting label: 
Sport

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

255618