BMW PGA: Calum Hill also in Ryder Cup mix along with Bob MacIntyre

European captain Padraig Harrington has urged Scottish duo Bob MacIntyre and Calum Hill to “deliver under pressure” in their respective positions as part of a fascinating final lap of Ryder Cup qualifying in this week’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

Helped by his recent Cazoo Classic win, Calum Hill can still secure a spot in Padraig Haarrington's Ryder Cup team this weekend.Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.
Helped by his recent Cazoo Classic win, Calum Hill can still secure a spot in Padraig Haarrington's Ryder Cup team this weekend.Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.

The duo are among around 15 players still in contention for a spot on Harrington’s team for the 43rd edition of the biennial contest at Whistling Straits in just over a fortnight’s time, setting up a fascinating four days in the $8 million Rolex Series event at the Surrey venue.

MacIntyre, who has been on the Ryder Cup radar throughout the qualifying campaign, needs to finish in the top-two finish on Sunday to have a chance of jumping above Shane Lowry in the battle for nine automatic spots while a victory is the requirement for recent first-time European Tour winner Hill.

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Harrington will complete his team with three captain’s picks on Sunday night and, though it seems as though two of those spots have been earmarked for Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia, a strong showing from either of the Scots could put them in the frame for the final spot up for grabs.

“It’s a big week,” said Harrington, who will be bidding to keep the trophy in Europe’s hands after Thomas Bjorn masterminded a thumping seven-point win at Le Golf National in Paris three years ago. “If you come down here and deliver under that pressure, that’s exactly what you want in the Ryder Cup.

“Robert has been great all year. He has really been up there. He is a tenacious player and that is the kind of player you would like in a Ryder Cup team so there is a lot going for Robert for sure if he gets in the team or he gets a pick.

“The problem for Calum is he knows that he is in this week if he wins this week So he is teeing up under pressure, the same as he would be if he was leading a tournament on the Sunday. If he can deliver under that pressure, he is more than welcome in my team.”

Hill has forced his way into the reckoning by being one of the most consistent performers on the European Tour this season, having landed his breakthrough win in the Cazoo Classic in the London area last month then adding a seventh top-10 finish in the Omega European Masters in Switzerland.

Bob MacIntyre can secure one of nine automatic spots in the European team for Whistling Straits if he finishes in the top two in this week's BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. Picture: Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images.

“I have a chance. A small chance,” acknowledged the 26-year-old of the Ryder Cup. “It’s one in 156 (the size of this week’s field), but it’s a chance and that is all you can ask for. That’s what you are here for. To try and win. It’s what you turn up every week for. If I manage to pull it off, good things will then happen.

“I’d have to say it would be more pressurised if you were needing a top-20 finish or something like that as opposed to just finishing first. I’ve only got one option. I wouldn’t say it is at the forefront of my mind, it’d be a consequence of good play.

“For example, looking at the guys who are on the bubble who just need a certain thing and it’s not really that big a deal as they should do it all the time. Under pressure, can you finish in that area. I’d say that gives more pressure than someone like me just rocking up and saying, ‘if you win, you get it’.

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“I’ve never been to a Ryder Cup before. I love watching it and, of course, I would be delighted to play in it. If it’s not this year, the next one, certainly.”

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Austrian Bernd Wiesberger, the 2019 Scottish Open champion, only needs a top-50 finish to claim an automatic spot from a world points list ahead of Rory McIlroy, who would then get under his own steam off a European points list but at Lowry’s expense. If that happens, Lowry would almost certainly get a pick.

MacIntyre, who feels “recharged big time”, is ready to give it everything he has. “I look at it two ways,” said the Oban man, who has Graeme McDowell, one of Harrington’s assistant captains, for company in the opening two rounds.

“It’s do-or-die for the Ryder Cup and the style of golf I play suits this place. If I can drive the way I normally do, I have no worries about what is going on.

“Then we step onto the first tee, it’s attack golf. That’s the way I play. The end result will be what it will be. I am looking at it more this week than normal because normally I would just turn up and play. But, obviously, there’s more going about me this week.

“You have to play good. But the course allows you to play smart and I struggled to do that in the past weeks because I wasn’t switched on. I had a chat with Mike [Thomson, his caddie] and it was agreed that was something we needed to work on. Especially with how thick the rough is.

“If you are out of position, just get back into position. Don’t try Hollywood shots. Or chase what is not there.

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“There’s a lot that could happen which could potentially change his picks. But, if I am sitting in the top five coming down the stretch on Sunday, then I’ve done something right and he’s going to have a problem on his hands.

“That’s where I want to be. In a position where a god back nine will get me into position to win. That’s everyone’s aim from the get-go. To have a chance to win on Sunday.

"Mentally I’m feeling good and physically I’m feeling good. My game is feeling good. It’s just about going out there and letting it happen instead of trying to force it.”

Meanwhile, US captain Stricker has named Patrick Berger, Harris English, Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Scottie Scheffler and Jordan Spieth as his picks, joining Dustin Johnson, Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka and Patrick Cantlay on the home team.

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