Jamie Donaldson’s US stop-over could help his Ryder Cup bid

Welshman Jamie Donaldson has taken advantage of his top-ten finish at the USPGA Championship to stay on in America – and it could even bring him into the reckoning for the Ryder Cup.

The Irish Open champion came joint seventh at Kiawah Island and will today play the first regular PGA Tour event of his career at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina.

“I realised when we’d finished that it was a top ten and I was in,” Donaldson said. “There’s nothing in Europe at the moment and it’s just another week in the heat on what looks like a great golf course.”

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The 36-year-old’s win at Royal Portrush last month – his first in 255 European Tour starts – has helped him to 21st place on the Ryder Cup table.

Winning this week and then doing it again in next week’s Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles could get him into Jose Maria Olazabal’s team automatically. That is asking an awful lot obviously, but Olazabal also has two wild cards to hand out and, with a strong final push, Donaldson would have to be considered a candidate for a side that at the moment does not have a single uncapped player on it.

“Confidence is high, so we’re looking for another big week,” added Luke Donald’s former world amateur championship teammate, who is giving thought to entering the PGA Tour qualifying school at the end of the season. There are lots of different things that might happen to make me go or make me not go – we’ll wait and see, but that’s the plan.

“I’d love to play over here full-time. Life seems pretty easy, the weather is better, there’s loads of things that are really great about it. Ian Poulter and Justin Rose are sort of good pals of mine, they’ve been over here for a while and they just rave on about it all the time.”

The Ryder Cup is bound to be on the minds of Sergio Garcia and Nicolas Colsaerts as well this week. They were pushed down to 11th and 12th in the standings by Ian Poulter’s third place finish in the last major of the year, but the world ranking points on offer can take them back into an automatic top 10 spot.