Five players qualify for 2020 European Ryder Cup team
Pádraig Harrington today welcomed the five players who have already secured their spots in his team as the qualification race reaches an exciting finale at this week’s BMW PGA Championship, the European Tour’s third Rolex Series event of 2021.
Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, Viktor Hovland, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm will all be heading to Wisconsin, USA, looking to hold onto the trophy Team Europe recaptured back in 2018.
Take a look below just how these players qualified and how they have fared at Ryder Cups in the past.
World Number One Rahm has qualified for the European team for a second successive time after producing arguably the best golf of any European during the qualifying period – topping both points lists.
And it comes as no surprise given that this year he collected his first Major trophy at the U.S. Open and recorded a further 13 top 10 finishes, while also reaching the top of the Official World Golf Ranking.
All this saw the Spaniard rack up a staggering 10,122.82 European Points, currently some 3,901.30 points ahead of his nearest competitor.
Rahm made his Ryder Cup debut in Paris in 2018 after automatically qualifying for Bjørn's European team. While he would narrowly lost his first two matches, Rahm memorably went on to defeat Tiger Woods in the Sunday Singles matches 2&1, ensuring that all players won at least one point for Team Europe over the three days.
A more experienced Rahm could be a European to be feared at Whistling Straits.
Previous Ryder Cup Appearances: 1
Ryder Cup record (W-L-T): 1-2-0
After a successful Ryder Cup in 2018 as one of Thomas Bjørn's Captain's picks, Casey makes the team this year as an automatic qualifier via the World Points List.
The 15-time European Tour winner has been in incredibly consistent form this year, collecting nine top 10s and a milestone victory at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
The Englishman represented Europe at the 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2018 Ryder Cups, and is undefeated in nine of 12 matches across the four events.
In 2018, Casey followed an opening defeat alongside rookie Tyrrell Hatton in the Friday fourball matches with a 3&2 victory alongside Hatton in the Saturday fourball matches. He then went on to collect an impressive half point against Brooks Koepka - who was then World Number Three.
Casey is also a former winner of the HSBC World Match Play Championship and has won two out of three play-offs he has been involved in.
The 44-year-old currently has 323.10 points on the World Points List, which means no one can displace him from the automatic spots at the end of the final week of qualifying.
Previous Ryder Cup Appearances: 4
Ryder Cup record (W-L-T): 4-3-5
The four-time Major Champion heads to Whistling Straits with four Ryder Cup wins already under his belt, and he will be looking to add a fifth after being part of the European team who beat the United States at Le Golf National three years ago.
Since his debut in 2010, McIlroy has evolved into one his continent’s most experienced and accomplished Ryder Cup players. Overall, the Northern Irishman has played in 24 matches, winning 11, halving four and losing nine, with an overall points total of 13.
The Northern Irishman began 2021 brightly by claiming a solo third in Abu Dhabi and then went on to win the Wells Fargo Championship on the PGA TOUR in May.
Since that triumph he has collected three further top seven finishes, with his best being a solo fourth finish at the BMW Championship.
McIlroy has found form at a great time, having only finished outside the top 14 once in last five starts and qualifies, currently, via the European Points List.
Previous Ryder Cup Appearances: 5
Ryder Cup record (W-L-T): 11-9-4
Sitting on 367.53 on the World Points list, Hovland has guaranteed that he cannot be surpassed and will become the first Norwegian to represent Europe when he makes his Ryder Cup debut at Whistling Straits.
The 23-year-old is no stranger to setting Norwegian records, and has hard a sharp rise to fame after turning professional. He became the first Norwegian to win on the PGA TOUR in 2020 after his victory at the Puerto Rico Open in February 2020, and added a second victory at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in December.
Fast forward a year and he became the first Norwegian to win on the European Tour after his triumph at the BMW International Open in June.
As well as his victory in Germany this year, Hovland has recorded a further seven top six finishes to more than justify his place in Harrington’s team.
The youngster also has an impressive amateur matchplay record, going undefeated at the 2015 Jacques Leglise Trophy, as well as becoming the first Norwegian amateur to win the 2018 U.S. Amateur Championship.
Previous Ryder Cup Appearances: 0
Ryder Cup record (W-L-T): N/A
Fleetwood burst onto the Ryder Cup scene in 2018 when he and his partner Francesco Molinari won all four matches they played together at Le Golf National, and the Englishman will be hoping to impress again after earning his second appearance for Team Europe. Heading into the final week of qualifying Fleetwood sits at second on the European Points List on 6,221.52 points, and is unable to be overtaken.
With Molinari, the pair became the first pairing to win four out of four matches during the contest in Paris, with their relationship on and off the golf course also stealing the headlines - resulting in the nickname 'Moliwood'.
Although he hasn’t won this year, Fleetwood has carded four top 10 finishes and appears to be hitting form at the right time after finishing second at the DS Automobiles Italian Open – hosted at 2023 Ryder Cup venue Marco Simone Golf & Country Club – last week.
Previous Ryder Cup Appearances: 1
Ryder Cup record (W-L-T): 4-1-0