The race to qualify for The 2018 Ryder Cup is in full swing with early statements of intent from Europe’s young guns.
Since the start of the European Ryder Cup points race at the D+D REAL Czech Masters, Matt Fitzpatrick (23), Romain Wattel (26), Lucas Bjerregaard (26), Paul Dunne (24) and Tyrrell Hatton (25) have all entered the winners’ enclosure to get some early points on the board.
Add in the emergence of Jon Rahm, who has risen to world number five at the age of 22, and the prospective European team already has a youthful feel to it in the very early stages of qualification.
These performances have caught the eye of European Captain Thomas Bjørn, who was clearly pleased with the early movers and as he indicated in his blog last month.
“It was almost like I’d written a wish-list!” he said. “I fully appreciate it is very early days in the overall process, but by the end of this season in Dubai in November we will start to get a proper indication of how things are shaping up. It is going to make for some very interesting viewing over the next few months.”
The European team will comprise four players from the European Points List and four players from the World Points List, with four Captain’s Picks. New for 2018 will also be increased weighting from May 24 to the end of the qualification period with money or world ranking points won multiplied by 1.5.
Before then there are plenty of big events which could well have a bearing on the final make-up of the European team, particularly with four Rolex Series events before the end of the 2017 season over the next few weeks.
The Ryder Cup Year to Go celebrations taking place in Paris will also mark another milestone for Captain Bjørn as he welcomes US Ryder Cup Captain Jim Furyk to the French capital and Le Golf National, host venue for The 2018 Ryder Cup.