August 17, 2008

Rose Jockeys To Make Euro Ryder Team

FedEx Cup playoffs? For Justin Rose, they'll have to wait to make sure he's locked up a spot on the Euro Ryder Cup team

With Rose one postion out of an automatic spot on the team, he's making some moves.

With Rose one postion out of an automatic spot on the team, he's making some moves.

Instead of Newark, Justin Rose was at the airport in Orlando Sunday, heading for Holland and the KLM Open, with a possible stop in Scotland for the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles the following week. The FedEx Cup playoffs have been put on hold for the 28-year-old Englishman. His more immediate goal is to lock up a spot on Nick Faldo's European Ryder Cp team.

"It would be my first [Ryder Cup] ever and it's a priority for me," Rose said. "I don't like to be in this situation but I don't want to put myself in a position of [having to be] picked."

Rose, the reigning European Tour player of the year, started 2008 ranked sixth in the world. But he is winless so far this season, although he has recently shown signs of turning things around, including a T-9 at the PGA Championship, which elevated him back to 12th in the world rankings.

But this has been an exceptionally hot summer for European golf, with Padraig Harrington capturing the British Open and the PGA Championship, and Sergio Garcia winning The Players and finishing second to Harrington at Oakland Hills. Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson (T-3 in the last two majors) and Robert Karlsson have also played better than Rose in the run-up to Valhalla.

"By this point I envisioned having [my spot secured] off the European World Ranking list," Rose said. "I have 187 world ranking points in the time period. Normally 150 points makes the team, but this year there has been an exceptional standard. Everybody in the top five has over 200 points."

Rose is in seventh place behind Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain, which explains why he packed his golf clubs and headed back to Europe Sunday night. But in doing so he is skipping the the first week (and possibly the second) of the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup Playoffs, potentially leaving some big money on the table. He had three top-15s in last year's playoffs, including a T-5 at the BMW Championship.

Ian Poulter, Rose's World Cup teammate for England -- and neighbor at Lake Nona in Orlando -- also has two itineraries working for next week. The British Open runner-up is going to play The Barclays this week in New Jersey. Then, based on his performance at Ridgewood and fluctuation on the European points (or money) list, Poulter may head to Gleneagles instead of the Deutsche Bank Championship at the TPC Boston. Martin Kaymer of Germany moved ahead into 10th place on the European list with a T-14 on Sunday in the SAS Masters.

Meanwhile, Paul Casey has said he will stick to the FedEx Cup in hopes of impressing Faldo, who now must consider Wyndham Championship winner Carl Pettersson, the Swedish citizen who grew up in Greensboro, N.C. Meanwhile, in Stockholm Sunday Nick Dougherty put himself in position with a tie for second at the Scandinavian Masters.

Say this for Faldo: He is going to have plenty of options.