Ian Poulter and Paul Casey will both need wildcards if they are to play for Europe in the Ryder Cup in Paris next month.
Their final chance to make the team by right came and went last night when both finished down the field in the first of the FedEx Cup play-off events on the PGA Tour.
Both needed a minimum of a top-20 finish in the Northern Trust to displace Thorbjorn Olesen in the last automatic spot, but neither came close after final rounds of 69 for Poulter and 74 for Casey.
Ian Poulter will need a wildcard if he is to play in this year’s Ryder Cup in September
Paul Casey also requires a wildcard from Team Europe captain Thomas Bjorn in order to play
In theory, they could make a late dash and play in the Made in Denmark tournament this week, which is the final qualifying event. In reality, both will be in Boston for the second FedEx play-off tournament, which does not count.
That event, however, will be completed before captain Thomas Bjorn names his four wildcards on September 5, so Poulter and Casey will have one final chance to impress, as will two more on the outside looking in — Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Swede Henrik Stenson.
In truth, it is hard to imagine Poulter will not get one after his excellent season, but with Sergio Garcia and in-form Thomas Pieters also in need of a wildcard, Bjorn must be thankful he insisted on an extra pick.
Poulter partnered Tiger Woods for the final round of the Northern Trust in New Jersey
The only danger man Olesen will have to worry about on home soil this week, therefore, is Matt Fitzpatrick, who would need to win the Danish event to have a chance.
Meanwhile, at the Czech Masters, Padraig Harrington came up short in his remarkable attempt to turn a disastrous season into a victorious one. Without so much as a top-25 finish all season and with more missed cuts in 19 events than paydays, the 46-year-old Irishman appeared to be playing mainly so he could wear his Ryder Cup vice-captain’s hat and run the rule over Pieters, his playing partner for the first two days.
But while the Belgian had to be satisfied with scraping into the top 10, Harrington was involved in a compelling duel for the title with Italian Andrea Pavan. Harrington did little wrong as he built a three-shot lead, only for Pavan to come storming home in 31 shots for a three-shot victory. It was the 29-year-old’s maiden success.
Poulter has made it known that he is keen to play in yet another Ryder Cup for Team Europe
‘All credit to Andrea, it was definitely a tournament he won rather than one I gave away,’ said Harrington.
The turning point was the 16th, where Pavan holed from 40ft for a birdie, taking the lead for the first time after Harrington missed for a birdie of his own.
At the Northern Trust, golfing scientist Bryson DeChambeau had all the solutions early in the final round as he established a commanding six-shot lead.
Already heavily fancied for a Ryder Cup wildcard — he finished one spot outside the automatic places — the 24-year-old Californian was moving towards the victory that would make him a certainty to be chosen alongside Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.